Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Anti-Teacher Argument #6: It's Our Tax Dollars

Whenever another round of teacher contract negotiations come up, it is inevitable that the taxpaying citizens of Ontario become alarmed.  It is, after all, their money that pays the salaries of teachers.

Here are just a few comments that I have taken from some of the media message boards over the last few weeks:

"We pay you people to sit at home all summer and do nothing"
"I pay your salary!"
"You should make minimum wage because you are on my wallet."
"You people are lazy and whiners.  Tax payers can't afford to pay you."

But the most intriguing quote was naturally from Toronto Sun reporter Michael Coren:

"gave our money to teachers to prevent those same teachers from going on strike and thus giving grief and hardship to the very people — parents — who pay their wages in the first place."

Each of these comments got my mathematical mind to thinking.  Yes, Ontario taxpayers have the right to complain about where their money is going, but do they even know how much of it ends up in the pocket of teachers?

Are teachers salaries so high that the end result is "grief" and "hardship?" for Ontario citizens?

Lets take a look at the math.

Education Budget:  19 billion
Percentage Spent on Teacher Salaries (prior blogs)  47.3%
Citizens of Ontario: 12, 851, 821
% of Citizens of Ontario in the workforce (70%)

So the money that every working taxpayer contributes yearly to teachers salaries (including teachers) is (19 billion x .473) divided by (12,851,821 x 0.7) which equals about $1000 a year.

The amount they contribute overall to education would be 19 billion divided by (12,851,821 x 0.7) = $2,111.

That means that the average working taxpayer (including teachers) of Ontario contributes $2,111 towards our educational system, of which $1000 goes to teachers.

As stand alone numbers, these really have no meaning.

But if we look into daycare costs in Ontario, we discover that the typical rates are anywhere from $400- $900 PER MONTH or around $4800 - $10800 per year.

With the introduction of FREE All Day Kindergarten, the amount of Ontario citizens who will require daycare will decrease in number.

This should free up more money to be contributed to the system.  After all, a significant portion of the population will now be saving upwards of $5000 a year.

Some will even save $8000 per year.

More interestingly however, is the actual cost of education per student in Ontario in comparison to the United States and the United Kingdom

According to the government there were 2,061,390 students enrolled in public school in Ontario in 2010.

The educational budget from that year was around 17 billion dollars.

Thus, the cost per student was $8246.

According to the Heritage Foundation of America, the cost of a 12 year education for the typical American child is $100,000 or about $8333 per year.

The Telegraph Newspaper says the cost for public school in the U.K was $9000 (pounds).

Thus, despite what our taxpayers and media might be proclaiming, Ontario is spending an equivalent amount per pupil as other nations.

So teacher salaries are not a unique burden on the taxpayer.

In fact, the cost of education on the Ontario taxpayer is EXACTLY what it should be.

Monday, September 24, 2012

To Summarize So Far

1) Teachers do not work 9 to 3.  Based on only 6 additional tasks they work at minimum 9 to 5.

2) Teachers "prep time" replaces "break time" instead of adding to it.

3) Teachers do not need to perform extracurriculars as less than 25% of the population volunteers themselves.

4) Teachers do not get vacation pay but receive "sick day" pay instead.

5) Teacher salaries are not eating up the educational budget.  They are the same percentage of the pie as
they were in the Mike Harris era.

6) The media is misleading the public with anti-teacher rhetoric that is factually incorrect

7) Teachers are not allowed to discuss the waste in education as a means to prevent salary freezes and/or reductions

8) Teachers can be suspended without being told of the offense and/or providing an explanation

9) Few educated professionals suffered as a result of the recession, but teachers are expected to give
    back because of it.

10) Teachers have never once raised the notion of a salary increase, but rather, simply want the basic human right to be able to collectively bargain.

Anti-Teacher Argument #5 The Recession

So who really was negatively impacted by the recent recession?  Media outlets would have you believe that there was massive "carnage" throughout the private sector, and teachers, having escaped unharmed, need to stop "whining" and "give back."

But are these claims true?

Lets take a look at a few pieces of evidence from Statistics Canada:

The above chart reveals that most of the job losses during the "recession" were in low paying private sector jobs.  There was little job loss in typical professions. Moreover, most of the individuals who made less than $10.00 per hour were in the age range of 15-24, that is, people just starting their careers, not people who were in them.

But there is more:

So not only was most of the job loss incurred by those who were 15-24 in age and just getting started in their careers, but those who were 15-24 in age and lacking a University Degree (7.2% vs 0.6% in men and 2.7% vs 1.2% in women).

Since most professionals between the ages of 25-65 did not suffer as we have been led to believe, taking away a teachers right to collectively bargain because of the "massive carnage" is not a factual argument.

Nor is the argument that individuals were forced to take wage cuts, and thus, teachers should as well.  As the statistics show there was  actually an increase in jobs paying $40 or more per hour during this period (12.9%).

The Burden of Being a Teacher

The following note was passed to me from a friend.  This note was placed in his mailbox at school because the note-writer thought he was me.

Here is what it says:

"I am writing to ask your opinion on the following teacher related topic.  Maybe you will share your insights on your very informative and entertaining blog.

Recently a colleague of mine was sent home from school because of an allegation.  This colleague was not told of the nature of the allegation, nor has this person been asked to defend any words or actions.  This colleague is not allowed near TDSB property.  The teacher is being tried by multiple agencies and will not be afforded the opportunity to speak in defence of their "actions."

I ask, in what other profession is one punished without the ability to defend and without knowledge of their own crime?

Keep up the excellent work."

To this point, this blog has tried to make conclusions based upon facts.  To be the antithesis to the current media.

However, in this instance, it is impossible to research facts that support the "note-writers" claims.  There is no published information about the number of people who have experienced similar situations.

Yet, there are conversations.  Conversations that suggest that such is a regular occurrence.

I know it has happened before.

All it takes is an allegation from a student or parent and this can happen.

One student who is upset that a teacher gave them a bad grade.  One parent who didn't like the report card.

This kind of goes against what was written yesterday in the Toronto Sun:

Teachers control their marks and anyone who has been through the education system knows a teacher who is out to get a student can make their lives miserable.

Clearly this writer has no idea what currently goes on in education.  Even if a teacher makes a student's life miserable for a moment, he/she may be sent home as part of an unknown investigation.

As the secret note-writer asks, in what other profession does this occur?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More Media Lies

Our Union should target newspapers that print articles where there are blatant exaggerations of "facts" and/or a total disregard for investigative journalism. 

The Toronto Sun is one such paper.  Again and again, anti-teacher rhetoric is spewed forth, without so much as a widespread retort from ETFO.

Take for example these quotes in the Editorial Column from the Saturday September 22nd, 2012 edition of the Toronto Sun:

"Despite that, you would think teachers, who work 10 months a year with two weeks off at Christmas and one at March break, and who earn north of $90,000 annually at the top of their experience and salary grids, would realize how good they have it.

Especially compared to the ongoing carnage in the private sector since the 2008 global recession, where most workers consider themselves lucky to have a job."

I wonder what statistical analysis promoted the writer to suggest that there is "ongoing carnage" in the private sector, considering that a Statistics Canada report concluded the following:

"The recent recession was not as bad, employment-wise, in Canada as previous economic downturns have been.
Not only was the total job loss not as large, but the job market also rebounded more quickly, the agency found.

Canadian employment peaked in October 2008. Over the next 12 months, more than 400,000 jobs were lost. But those figures began to rebound quickly from late 2009 onward.

By January, the figure had fully recovered — 27 months after its initial trough."


Moreover, Statistics Canada concluded that:

"Canada's economic recession ended in the third quarter of 2009 and was not only shorter and milder than in other G7 countries."

So the carnage doesn't exist.  Unless it is needed to convince the public that taking away teachers basic human right to collectively bargain is acceptable.

Up next:  who really lost their jobs during the recession?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


An article in todays "tabloids" really got me thinking.  The article was about the Afrocentric School in Toronto having only 6 children and 3 teachers.  The article claims that the cost of running this program so far is $75,000 (Toronto Sun).

So what would be the yearly cost?  Since all teachers make "$90,000" a year the cost to run the program would be $270,000 in teacher salaries alone.  Then considering that teachers take up 47.3 percent of the education budget we can conclude that the actual cost of this program would be:

47.3 % of (unknown costs) = 270,000

Therefore the actual cost of running this program is  $570824.52 or about $95137 per kid.

Putting aside any anti-teacher arguments for a moment, suppose you are an accountant for a private company.

One day, the boss calls a staff meeting and informs his employees (and you) that there will be a significant reduction in wages, benefits and pensions,  plus he is going to force you to work three days a year for free.

He pleads with all of you to make these sacrifices for the "good of the company" which is in a serious financial crisis.

But you as the accountant know that the company has been frivolously spending an amount greater than the aforementioned cuts on expenses that are not required for the well-being of the company.

So you go and seek out your boss.

You tell him that you have ways to reduce company waste while at the same time maintaining the status quo in terms of wages and benefits.  No increases.  Just the status quo.

The response from your boss is to refuse to even hear your proposal, and legislate that you can no longer discuss issues of employee wages and benefits for the next 4 years.

Would you not be angry?

We know from the current NHL lockout that even individuals who make upwards of eight million a year still complain about cutbacks.  They say that if the league reduced the waste (Phoenix Coyotes, Florida Panthers etc.) then there would be no need to "cut back."

But teachers are somehow different?

They are not supposed to complain?

In this situation, yes we should always complain when management takes away from employees because of their "wasteful" practices.

So the question becomes, what evidence exists in Ontario Education of waste?

Can we come up with a total that is greater than what is being cut from teachers?

Why don't my viewers get us started..  let the comments roll.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Proof in Point

As a follow up to my last argument, take a look at this comment that was posted in response to my blog on vacation pay:

Teacher work on average 154 days per year. This is part time work, and part time is part time. Doesn't matter if you are delivering pizza, cutting hair or working at Sears in the cosmetic section. These are all peer jobs to the common teacher. Part time is part time. Now for the salary and benefits. Teachers in South Dakota make $34,040 per year, and have 15 weeks holiday. Same job as our Canadian teachers, so why the huge difference in pay? Teachers are not professionals, the use of this term is insulting to us Professionals. You will not find one single Professional in Canada that only works 154 days per year, and shutting down at 3:30. Please refrain from using this term, we have worked very hard to attain our designations and teachers are demeaning it. We are educated with real degrees, not a bird BA (Burger All) and some bird courses written by the union to get a teaching certificate. And, that is all that it is, a certificate. Not like a true Professional Designation like a CA, or LLP, etc.

These are precisely the people that we will never convince and should not spend a single amount of time on (beyond this blog).

She has ignored every single blog post, the real facts, and made erroneous conclusions that are not based on reality.

Despite teachers being officially called "professionals" by government agencies, universities, and other councils, she has decided that based on generic and untrue comparisons that she is entitled to determine that we are not.

Despite proving that teachers work from 9 to 5 before calculating extracurriculars she claims the job ends at 3:30.

She believes that teachers in South Dakota, and their living expenses, are similar to Toronto based on the fact that she believes this to be true.

She believes that a 5 year University degree, plus at least 2 additional university level courses qualifies as a certificate.

I thank her for proving our argument.

Keeping Up: Future Blogs

When I decided to write this blog, my wife argued about its format.  I informed her that I would be writing arguments that build on one another, all leading to a certain end, while she wanted me to just write one blog with ALL the arguments.

We went with my idea.

To this point, I have been humbled by the amount of responses, both positively and negatively. While I knew that this was a "hot-button" issue, I had no idea that this blog would be a place where it was discussed.

However, I urge individuals to save their "opinions" until my argument is completed.  Please wait until all the information has been outlined so that an informed decision can be made.

That doesn't mean that I am urging you not to comment, especially when one of my posts hits a nerve, but I am hopeful you can remain open-minded.

I would encourage you to read all my blogs, not just the ones that help support your own argument.

Those of us who are old enough to remember the O.J. Simpson trial recall that the "jury" clung to the idea that the "glove doesn't fit," and resultantly, overlooked the mountain of evidence that pointed towards Simpson's guilt.

Why?   Because the jury was looking for any excuse to support their preconceived notions.

As teachers, we can only convince those who are willing to listen.

So please read all my blogs as a collective argument that the media is not providing the real facts.  That was those who are not in education rarely hear the truth.

Just so you know, I have enlisted a medical researcher at the University of Toronto who will be writing an article comparing teacher salaries to similar professions and busting the myth that teachers should be "giving back" because of a "recession."

This person is a friend, but was asked to write an article that is free of bias.  It just so happens that their conclusion supports teachers.  In fact, this person's belief system was completely changed due to their research.

I also will be posting information for parents, such as educational policy that negatively impacts children, "mark" fixing, credit farms, the I.E.P. process, and much more.

Thanks again.

Tell your friends.  Argue.  Join the site.  Follow me.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Increasing Teacher Salaries Are Eating Up the Education Budget

Recent newspaper columns and media reports have lead people to believe that the raises given by the Liberal Government to Ontario teachers over the past few years is what is eating up the education budget.

The September 4th edition of the Toronto Star mentioned that "teachers’ compensation has increased by 25 per cent during the McGuinty government."

To the general public, this would seem like a pretty cut and dry argument and it goes like this:

One reason why Ontario has a deficit is because they are spending more on education and this is mainly due to an increase in teacher salaries.

But according to Stats Canada, this simply isn't true.

Take a look at the chart below, focussing carefully on Ontario

According to this chart, the percentage of the education budget that is going to educators, which Stats Can considers to be teachers and administrators, has gone up by only .7 of a percent since 2005  (It started at 46.6 and ended at 47.3).

Also note that it is on a downward trend (48.6 - 47.3)

Thus, while the education budget has increased by nearly 3 billion dollars in the same period (Ontario Ministry of Education) only .7 percent of this increase is due to teacher salaries.

Follow and Comment

Hello fellow viewers.

In order to move this blog up in the google search engines, please "follow" the blog and/or comment on it.

The more participation, the greater our reach, the more individuals get a glimpse into the truth of education in Ontario.

For those commenting- thank you.

Remember: the goal of this blog is to give you facts that the media is refusing to publish, so no matter your opinion, bear with me as I attempt to outline them for you.

Keep reading.  Keep telling your friends.

All Anti-Teachers, Pro-Teachers, Non-teachers, Teachers, etc.  are welcomed!

Stay tuned as future blogs will tackle educational policy that is negatively impacting children, class sizes, and teacher salaries.

What Ever Happened of Doing it for the Kids?

Teachers are always whining about their pay. What ever happened to "doing it for the kids"?

The above argument, posted on the blog, has also been echoed by politicians, reporters, and citizens of Ontario as a way to somehow rationalize that teachers should not be able to fight to improve their working conditions, pay, or benefits.

This blogger takes two perspectives.

1. If concerned citizens, politicians and reporters are that concerned about "the kids" then why would you attack those who could, and can, impact them with daily "anti-teacher" rhetoric and legislation that strips them of their collective bargaining rights?  

Shouldn't you just pay them more?

Or, at the very least, focus your media coverage on the positives of teaching, great teachers, and the importance of this profession.

For example, if the Toronto Maple Leafs want to attract the best free agent player, they don't start by telling them how terrible they are, how they don't deserve raises, how they are the reason for the teams past failures etc.

You try to sell them on the job of being a Toronto Maple Leaf.

If you want to attract the very best teachers, while at the same time taking away their bargaining rights, shouldn't you at least try to sell them on the positives of the job?

When was the last time a major media outlet published something positive about teachers?  

2.  Teaching is a career.  People who become teachers know that they are working with kids, and they hope to make some sort of impact on children.  But they do it for the money.  Sure, they also may do it for the job satisfaction, or because it fits their lifestyle, but lets be honest here,  we live in a capitalist system.  You need money to survive.  You need money to prosper.  You need money to enjoy your life.

If a police officer was given two options:  1) stay a police officer with a significant reduction in benefits and salary  or 2) change to a career that pays significantly more more, with the same working hours, benefits, etc.  do you not think for a moment that they would switch?

Or at the very least fight for their existing rights so they could stay a police officer?

But somehow, because teachers work with kids, they are not supposed to fight for their rights?  They are not supposed to fight for the right to be paid similarly to other professions where the minimum requirements are 5 years of university?

And all because they are supposed to be "Doing it for (someone else's)  Kids?"

Does the bus driver not have the right to fight for their benefits because he is "doing it for his passengers?"

Does the politician volunteer his/her rights away because he is "doing it for his constituents?"

Does the warehouse worker decide not to take his mandatory breaks because he is "doing it for his corporation?"

Of course not.

But teachers are.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Quick Update

This blog has had a very impressive 700 views since its inception yesterday. Lets continue spreading the truth by encouraging our friends to visit this site, posting comments, and doing whatever we can to get the real message out.

Also, perhaps you could comment and/or suggest topics that I can attack mathematically?

The more views and comments, the greater chance that this blog can move to the top of google search engines when you type in "Bill 115" instead of all the teacher-hater sites that keep popping up.

Don't worry, in the next few days I will be looking at "teachers being overpaid" and "teachers being lazy," and will conclusively prove that this is not the case.

All we have to do is get this message out.  Call the Union.  Let them know that it is time to change strategies.

Holding signs doesn't inspire public confidence or support.

Facts do.

Anti-Teacher Argument #4- Sick Days

Bill 115 will reduce teacher sick days from 20 to 10.

When I told my wife about this fact, she responded: "well nobody should get that amount of sick days anyway."

Then I told her an interesting fact.  Because the government does not consider the summer months, March Break, or Christmas holidays as actual "teacher vacation time," teachers, unlike the majority of Ontario workers, do not qualify for the mandatory 4% "vacation pay" established by the Ontario Ministry of Labour.


In fact, in a prior collective agreement, when the summer months were actually legally considered to be a "vacation" for teachers, the government and teachers, working in a partnership, proposed a cost-saving, incentive strategy.

** Please note: In order to be fair, it has been brought to my attention that there are differing views on if these negotiations ever took place and/or if it was teachers who suggested the change.  Older members of the Union say it took place, newer members are unsure. **

Thus, these so called "sick days" should really be called "vacation pay days" since teachers do not get vacation pay.

No, the general public does not get the opportunity to miss 20 days a year for being "sick."  But they do get 4% vacation pay.

Teachers get "sick day" pay instead.  Different term, same result.

For those who started teaching in the year 2000, the retirement gratuity would be for 1/2 of a days pay for any accumulated days OVER 200.

Lets look at why the mathematics make sense for the government:

1. $74,000 (average teacher salary)  x 4% vacation pay = $2960 x 30 years = 88,800

2. (30 years x 20 sick days - 200)  x 1/2 days salary ($200) =  $80,000

Thus, the government saves $8000 per teacher by awarding sick days instead of vacation pay.

In this system, there was an incentive to SAVE sick days for teachers.  While I don't have the exact numbers, I know that at my school, no teacher has ever used up the full 20 days during the course of the year.  I have never used up more than 7.  Our staff average is 8.

So rounding up for the sake of argument to 11 sick days per year being used, the actual retirement gratuity would be:

(30 years x 9 sick days - 200 days) x 1/2 days pay ($200) = $14,000 gratuity.  Adding in the cost of a supply teacher (11 days x 30 years x $240) = $79,200.

 Thus the actual cost of the "20 banked sick days" is around $79,200 + $14,000 = $93,200

Now lets take a look at the mathematics of the new system.

1. 10 sick days that cannot be banked (teachers will therefore use them all up) x 30 years x a full days supply pay ($240) = $72,000

Don't forget to add in the vacation pay of $88,800 for a 30 year career.

This equals a new cost of $160,800 for a 30 year teacher.

Of course, some of you will say that teachers shouldn't get vacation pay.  But why is that?  The only reason we don't get vacation pay is because we negotiated for the retirement gratuity so that the government could save $8000 per teacher.

But Bill 115 has removed our ability to  negotiate AND nullified our prior bargaining agreements.

If our prior agreements are nullified, then as Ontario employees, we are entitled to our 4% vacation pay.

Unless of course teachers are somehow different?

And why would we be?

Perhaps it is because we are overpaid?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Anti-Teacher Argument #3 Extracurriculars

There are two basic viewpoints as it relates to teachers performing extracurricular activities.  The first is that these activities are voluntary, performed out of the goodness of ones heart.

However, if they are truly voluntary, why would the Premier of Ontario launch a media campaign asking teachers not to "punish children" for refusing to conduct these so-called "voluntary" programs?

Was he not aware that a 2007 survey on Canadian Giving and Volunteering in Ontario concluded that, while volunteerism is increasing in Ontario, the "majority of volunteer hours were contributed by a fairly small group of individuals?"  


If such a small group of individuals is volunteering, where are the attack ads on other working groups?  Where are the headlines blasting lawyers, bus drivers, dentists, nurses, crossing guards or warehouse employees for not volunteering?

The answer is that the Premier, and others, don't believe that extracurricular activities are voluntary.  They believe that sports teams, art clubs, and other after-school events are part of the job.

People believe that because teachers only work "9 to 3" jobs, that they should be spending 1-2 additional hours after school running extracurricular programs.

The problem is, I have already showed that without extracurriculars, teachers already work a typical 8 hour shift- just like the rest of the working population and Ontario Labour Laws.

So why then are teachers expected to run these programs and criticized when the don't?

Is it really a teachers job to work from 9 until 6 or 7?  (times are not relevant, only length of the shift.  I have added 1-2 hours on the end based on the evidence in my prior blogs)

Do police officers who have completed all of their tasks continue on the job for 1-2 hours after their shift is finished without charging overtime?

Does the bus driver who has finished his route continue to drive for 1-2 hours for free?

Does the doctor continue to see patients without billing the government for seeing them?

Have you ever been to an auto mechanic who said "the next 2 hours of work on your car is free?"

Of course not.

Yet teachers are expected to work 9-10 hour shifts?


Anti-Teacher Argument #2 "But You Get Prep Time!"

In my previous blog I used mathematics to show that teachers work a regular "9 to 5" workday.  This is an important fact moving forward.

Today, I will tackle another common myth about teachers: that we get time during the school day to prepare our lessons and mark student work.

The truth is we do.  It is called "PREP" time and right now it sits at 250 minutes per week, or about 50 minutes per day.

*Note that the 2012-2013 school year is the first time teachers have had 250 minutes of prep time.

John Snoblen, a former Ontario Minister of Education for the Harris Government, wrote the following in the March 12, 2012 edition of the Toronto Sun about "prep" time.

"The same holds true for preparation time. The Ontario school system now features obscene amounts of preparation time for teachers. There is no demonstrable benefit for students and parents from all of the money we spend paying teachers not to teach. But there is one obvious benefit — you guessed it — less work for teachers."

These are some powerful statements from a former Minister of Education.  He clearly believes that teachers should not be allowed time to prepare.

But here is a question:  Why should teachers be different from other Ontario employees?

Think about it.  Most jobs in Ontario that have 8 hour shifts see employees get 90 minutes off  (1 Hour Lunch, 2-15 minute breaks).

For the first time in history Ontario teachers now get the exact same amount of time off.  (50 minutes in prep + a 40 minute lunch).

So while teachers do get "PREP" time, so does everyone else.  

Of course, there may be some people who do not receive 30 minutes in break.  For arguments sake, lets go back to my prior blog when I said that teachers actually work from 8:50 to 5:10.  

Lets assume now then that teachers, because of their prep time, receive 30 minutes extra in breaks (90 minutes vs 60 minutes).

Given this situation a teacher then works from 9 am to 4:50 pm (I have taken 30 minutes off their work day).

So, in the worst case, minimalist situation, a teacher works 7 hours and 50 minutes a day.

10 minutes less than a regular "8 hour" work shift.

Is this 10 minutes really an "obscene amount of preparation time" that the former Minister of Education would have you believe?


Anti Teacher Argument #1 Teachers Have a 9 to 3 Workday

Welcome to my blog.

I seek not to argue, to inflame, or to whine.  I seek only to present information that you may not be aware of.  Factual information.  Information that should be given to the public so that can form educated opinions of Ontario Elementary Teachers and their plight.

It is clear right now that Ontario Elementary Teachers are not winning in the "court of public opinion."

They are losing badly.  

"Teachers get paid too much."   "Teachers are lazy."  "Teachers get 3 months off."  "Teachers are hurting our children by not offering extracurricular activities." "Teachers don't teach the proper skills."

These are the popular opinions of the day; opinions that are resulting in the overwhelming public support of Bill 115, a bill which significantly effects teachers, both economically, and emotionally.

But is the public coming to an informed decision or have they been misled by the political agendas of news organizations?

Are teachers really overpaid, underworked and lazy?

Despite what the media may have you believe the facts suggest otherwise. 

This blog entry will focus on the argument that teachers work only a 9 am to 3 pm day, an idea that has been expressed as a "truth" by a significant number of individuals in the comment sections of both the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun.  

Also by my father, two uncles, five close friends, my entire hockey team, family doctor, plumber, and local waitresses.

Here's what they don't know......

1. Elementary teachers have to write IEP's (Individual Education Plans).  They cannot write these in class.   They have to write these 2 times a year.  Each IEP takes around 2 hours to write.  Sometimes more.  Sometimes less.  For argument sake, lets say 1 hour.  Most teachers have 10 IEP's to write.  Some have 60 (if they teach gifted).

So the math on this would be 1 hour x 10 students x 2 times a year = 20 hours

2. Elementary teachers have to write 2 report cards and 1 progress report.  Again, class time is not provided.  Most classes have 30 students at minimum.  Each report card takes a minimum of 2 hours to write.  

Looking at the math again that means  2 hours x 30 students x 3 occasions = 120 hours

3. Elementary teachers have to conduct reading assessments like DRA or Casi. These are not be used for evaluation (marking) purposes.  They have to do these twice a year and imput the results into an online data base.  There are 8 questions with 4 being paragraphed written responses. At the very minimum it takes 1.5 hours to mark and input the results. 

Here is the math:  twice a year x 30 students x 1.5 hours = 90 hours.

These three tasks add up to 230 hours of work that teachers perform outside of their "teaching time."

Given the fact that there are 188 teaching days in the year,   230 divided by 188 = 1.22.

That means that these three tasks alone, add at the very minimum, 1 hour to a teachers day.

1 extra hour a day BEFORE you calculate other "outside of teaching time" tasks such as staff meetings, marking, assignment creation etc.

Lets do the math on those......

4.  Staff Meetings:  9 full staff meetings a year x 1 hour = 9 hours  (these are held after school)

5. Marking:  lets say a teacher spends 1 minute a day (per child) marking.  So with 30 students that would be 30 minutes per day.  We all know this is a ridiculously small (and unrealistic) number because most teachers give out more than 1 assessment/assignment per child, per day.  

Sure some people might say that the teacher does the marking in class, while their students are working, but we all know this is not the case.  If you don't believe us, drop by a classroom and see if the teacher has time to do this.

Back to the math:  1/2 of an hour x 188 school days = 99 hours

6.  Assignment creation and preparation.  Should we estimate 1 minute per child again?  When we consider photocopying, ordering of materials, organizing of lessons, checking of computer technology, getting the supplies ready, practicing of lessons etc. this seems like a safe bet.

Math:  1 minute x 30 students = 1/2 of an hour x 188 days = 99 hours.

#4 + #5 + #6 = 196 hours.  196 divided by 188 gives us about 1 hour a day again.

So that's an average of 2 extra hours a day that is not part of the "9 to 3" teaching day.

Which means we are up to a "9 to 5" job now.  

A very important fact to consider in the blog entries to follow.

Of course, school doesn't start at 9 a.m.  It starts on average at 8:50 and goes to 3:10 or so. 

So the job is really 8:50 to 5:10.....  

Which is more than the typical "9 to 5" job that we like to think is the norm....

And we haven't even gotten into extracurricular activities yet.   That's for another time.

So based on these 6 "extra's" alone, teachers are working a regular work day like the rest of the population.

So why hasn't the Toronto Sun or Toronto Star published this information?

Where is the headline that reads "Teachers Work Regular Workday?"