Harvey Bischof

President, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation

Session

What’s the Union Doing Here?

OSSTF/FEESO is the first education union in the world to sponsor a researchED conference. Our choice to do
so may well puzzle some advocates of researchED. This workshop will explain both the context
within which the decision was made and the goals of participation in this increasingly global
movement.
The catalyst for this initiative is found at least in part in data gathered from our members by an
independent researcher in 2013/14, which demonstrated that educators feel workload is
increasing, in large part as a result of Ministry of Education and school board-directed initiatives, but these
initiatives are of highly dubious efficacy. For example, 75% of our members felt their time could be
better spent in self-directed professional development pursuits than in employer-directed professional development and
other activities. Overall, the greatest increase in workload arises from increased expectations related
to assessing and reporting, requests for data, and computer work, and yet none of these has a
demonstrated connection to increased learning.
In this context, OSSTF/FEESO is exploring a variety of ways, which will be discussed in the
workshop, to promote educator professionalism, for the sake of members’ professional satisfaction
and the quality of the publicly-funded education system in which we work.

Bio

An English teacher with the Durham District School Board, Harvey was first elected to the Provincial Executive as Executive Officer in 2007. He was elected three times as Vice President and is currently in his first term as President.

He received his elementary and secondary education in Pickering, Ontario. After earning an Hons. B.A. from Trent University and an M.A. and B.Ed from Queen’s University, he returned to Durham in 1990 to teach English at Henry Street High School and then at Exeter High School for a total of twelve years of classroom teaching.

He has served OSSTF/FEESO as Branch President, Provincial Councillor, Chief Negotiator and as District President for OSSTF/FEESO District 13, Durham.

Archive

What’s the Union Doing Here?

OSSTF/FEESO is the first education union to sponsor a researchED conference. Our choice to do so may well puzzle some advocates of researchED. This workshop will explain both the context within which the decision was made and the goals of participation in this increasingly global movement.

The catalyst for this initiative is found at least in part in data gathered from our members by an independent researcher in 2013/14, which demonstrated that educators feel workload is increasing, in large part as a result of ministry- and school board-directed initiatives, but these initiatives are of highly dubious efficacy. For example, 75% of our members felt their time could be better spent in self-directed professional development pursuits than in employer-directed PD and other activities. Overall, the greatest increase in workload arises from increased expectations related to assessing and reporting, requests for data, and computer work, and yet none of these has a demonstrated connection to increased learning. At the same time, one of our members’ major employers claims that educators are making “self-righteous assertions of professionalism” when they promote professional judgment in their practice.

In this context, OSSTF/FEESO is exploring a variety of ways, which will be discussed in the workshop, to promote educator professionalism, for the sake of members’ professional satisfaction and the quality of Ontario’s publicly-funded education system.