October 21st, 2020

Retired teachers feel betrayed by UCP


By Letter to the Editor on January 11, 2020.

On Dec. 1, a group of six retired educators met with the Lethbridge East MLA, Nathan Neudorf, to discuss three key issues.

Issue one was lack of consultation with stakeholders (teachers) who contributed 50 per cent of the money that has been managed for 80 years by the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund. If the federal government took over management of money you saved in your RRSP with no consultation and at a lower rate of return, how would you feel? We have been informed that the Crown Corporation AimCo will now be managing the funds. This disrespectful move by the UPC has created a climate of mistrust.

The UCP sent information to MLAs indicating that this transfer of funds would make the management of pension funds more efficient. This is our second concern. It has been difficult to find information regarding the costs which will be incurred in this transfer of funds and who will be paying the costs. Without this information, it cannot be determined that this move will make the pension management more efficient. In addition, if this “efficiency” was such a pressing issue, why wasn’t it raised as part of the UCP platform?

Finally and perhaps most significantly, the UCP platform statement, “Democratic reforms will give more power to Albertans to hold the provincial government accountable,” is belied by moves such as this. This feels like a betrayal.

Marian Biggins, Val Bareham Wright, Barbara Gammon, Susan Milne, Karen Thomas, Doug Wright

Lethbridge

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IMO

If the UCP was transparent, it would have campaigned on this issue and all other policies implemented after the election.

Had this been the case, it is likely the UCP would not have formed government.

phlushie

one very pertanent fact that no one seems aware of is the clause in the omnibus bill that allows the Government of the day to extract up to 10% of the pension investment into general revenue. This is a very significant concern!!!

baxter

Good to see the UCP make smart decisions for the people of Alberta as they were overwhelmingly elected to do.

I know it must be tough for unions to not have the NDP in power to hand them over heaps of undeserved cash from people who actually work to earn that money.

Not surprised to see even in retirement that teachers still feel entitled to reach into the pockets of hardworking Albertans to steal even more money than they did while being overpaid for years.

Tris Pargeter

55% is NOT an overwhelming majority. It’s not 75, or even 65%.
And you think all these nurses and teachers and other public servants don’t WORK?
And it’s TEACHERS that are “reaching into the pockets of hardworking Albertans” like YOU I guess, and maybe some of your friends? And teachers are OVERPAID?
You’re joking.

zulu1

It’s no joke for taxpayers. Teachers work approximately 186 days a years , roughly half a year, but get paid for a whole year. Overpaid ? Yes indeed !

Tom Johnston

Let’s start by getting some basic and easily accessible facts straight. First, teachers’ salaries are for 10 months of work; they are not paid for the summer but their salaries are distributed across 12 months. Second, time spent in the classroom is what most people see, but what most people do not see are the hours and hours spent by teachers outside formal instructional time — that’s time spent contacting parents, preparing lessons and in many cases purchasing resources with their own money and on their own time, marking, coaching teams, and completing an ever increasing amount of paper work. Three, to enter the profession requires a minimum of five years of university and many teachers also hold advanced degrees requiring several more years of rigorous study. In comparison with other professions with similar educational requirements, an argument can be made that teachers are under paid. Finally, if you think teaching is such a cake walk, try following a teacher around for a week.

baxter

Its a pretty good sized majority. The election was not close. at all there was not a single party that came close to matching the total of the UCP. Especially when you consider how many of the pathetic voters for the NDP only did so to try and protect their free hand outs they were getting by that corrupt party.

And yes Teachers and Nurses are right near the top of the list, along with NDP MLAs and union “leaders”, of doing the least amount of work but still being allowed to steal money from the public for it.

grinandbearit

I do not know who you are baxter but you are not speaking the truth. Teachers and nurses and other public employees do NOT get free handouts. This is just atrocious right-wing nonsense. In the last seven years teachers had only one year of non-zero raise. The nurses received all zeroes, like most public unions. The private sector is paid more than the public sector and over the last seven years has experienced greater salary increases (despite in the energy sector working for a failing natural resource industry). All wages and, generally, cost of living increases are higher in AB than in most other provinces.

Under the last two years of the NDP nearly everyone in the public sector saw zeroes. The authors of the letter are retired. Their pensions are negotiated deferred compensation acquired under previous conservative govts – not the NDP. This UCP government literally stole away their pensions from legal administration because they want to transfer that wealth to the failing fossil fuel industries. There will be an unfunded liabilitiy that future AB tax payers will have to cover because of this government’s narrow interest acts.

Picking on the public sector for the decades long creation of economic troubles in AB is simply scapegoating. If you want to know why we are in trouble look to the giant oil industries who control the UCP’s focus.

RJ

Baxter – you are pathetically uninformed about both professions you mention..Clearly, you have no children in school, ever attended school or were ever sick or had family or friends that went to school or were sick. The UCP was elected by a majority of Albertans who were gullible enough to believe Jason Kenney’s lies, or were angry that they were having to pay an extra six bucks to fill their Deisel-guzzling, blinged-out, lifted, $100,000 4X4 they “needed”. Doesn’t say much for the average Albertan’s grasp on reality, does it?

Tris Pargeter

Ha ha, exactly. I’ve been meaning to write a poem about all those jacked-up, black trucks you see here….

baxter

Wrong on all accounts. I have kids in school, have worked at schools, have family that are teachers and nurses, spent time in various areas of the hospitals in multiple cities in the province as well.

As for the cheap shot at people owning expensive trucks good for them. I personally don’t have one and couldn’t afford a $100,000 4×4 but if other can I don’t begrudge them for doing so or feel any need to mock them for having different likes than I do.

RJ

zulu1 says:
January 11, 2020 at 4:20 PM
It’s no joke for taxpayers. Teachers work approximately 186 days a years , roughly half a year, but get paid for a whole year. Overpaid? Yes indeed ! (sic)

Dear zulu1:

I’m unclear, as a taxpayer, what you mean by “It’s no joke for taxpayers”, but your view of the teaching profession is, at the very least, quite warped.

First, the 186 days you mention are on-campus days. The teaching year salary is a CONTRACT, not a wage. We CONTRACT for a 200-days-in-the-classoom year. So – some simple arithmetic (which you apparently didn’t enjoy in school) reveals a few things you may not have taken into consideration when you wrote your damning letter.

According to you, teachers don’t work 179 days of the calendar year. But 104 of those days are weekends. Do you get weekends off, zulu1? Many people do. So – teachers aren’t in the classroom (or meetings) for 75 days. Most people in the so-called “normal” workforce get two weeks paid holidays. Excluding weekends, to be fair, that’s 10 more days not on the job for those folks. Again in fairness, that would be 65 more “days off” than the average worker.

BUT – please consider the average teacher’s workload – let’s say a high school English or Social Studies (or any other highly demanding subject) teacher. That person (who may have ten or more years experience) will be working, most days, many more hours than just classroom time. Papers must be marked and edited; lesson plans must be prepared. Often, during a busy week of tests and exams, a teacher will be spending SEVERAL hours beyond classroom time attending to those sometimes gruelling and frustrating tasks. Ten-hour days are not uncommon for a teacher.

And please remember that most school divisions demand some sort of co-curricular activities supervision/coordination of all their teachers, whether that be coaching (a CRUSHING time load, not to mention the expertise needed), preparing for graduation days, school newspapers, yearbooks, after-school and noon hour clubs — like math, science, debate, drama, art, photography, track and field, outdoor ed. —even evening hours clubs like pottery, model-building and on and on. Speaking of noon hours, please don’t forget the (at least one day per week) of outdoor and lunchroom supervision duties.

Oh, and then there are the unrecognized “special” skills teachers must learn quickly — tear-drying, nose-blowing (teachers must buy an endless supply of boxes of tissue), listening to tales of bullying and abuse after school and at home, helping with the bundling and unbundling of layers and layers of winter wear for twenty-five tots, finding lost mittens and boots, settling differences, disciplining bullies, upset and unruly kids, consolation, and detective work (Who took Jenny’s pencil box?) . . . and on and on. To complicate matters, teachers must deal regularly with irate parents who want SO badly to lash put at someone they can blame for their kids’ malevolent attitude and behavior. Keeping one’s cool conversing with an irate bully is draining, both personally and professionally.

Management and budgeting skills (for meagre classroom allotments) aside, teachers also must spend a considerable amount out-of-pocket for necessary classroom odds and ends, needed supplies, special little treats, rewards, stickers and such. School boards don’t budget for gold star and happy face stickers.

zulu1 – do you not understand that many, many teachers spend a good portion of their summer “holidays” attending course and seminars so as to become better, more skillful teachers? Or perhaps pursue a very expensive post-graduate degree? And what about the unsubsidized cost of a four-year degree to become a (low salaried) beginning teacher? Many younger teachers are paying off student loans for the first ten years of their career.

Back to the simple arithmetic. Even conservatively speaking, an eight-hour per working day teacher (we won’t include weekend marking, class preparation, coaching obligations, tournaments and travel time away from family, which may add dozens of hours) might be actually spending 600 hours per year less “on the job”— i.e. in the classroom—than the eight-to-five employee, unless one takes into consideration the real facts, like the extra two or three hours a day of student evaluation, editing, lesson preparation, extra-curricular activities and education, and etcetera. Some younger, lower salaried teachers are forced to work at part-time after-hours jobs to make ends meet, a practice discouraged and often forbidden by school boards. That makes them look bad.
Don’t even get me started on the invaluable support of teacher aides. You’d be embarrassed at what I might tell you.

So, zulu1, I have attached my real name to this letter so you know who to defame next time. You, sir or ma’am, owe the teachers of your community, and indeed ALL teachers everywhere, an apology for you ignorance of the demands of the profession, not that THAT will ever happen. I look forward to your published apology (LOL) and/or rebuttal, both or either of which would be most welcome.

RJ Pisko, ATA ret., Blairmore, Alberta

Tris Pargeter

Bravo, Mr. Pisko. I, for one, very much appreciate teachers, schools, and education.
My only criticism is that critical thinking seems to have failed for rather a disproportionate number of people in this province. But I wonder how hard it maybe is to teach that. Might it be like “people skills,” which a person either naturally possesses, or doesn’t?
Rest assured you will NOT receive an apology. It goes without saying that the commenters you address here obviously did NOT appreciate school. Personally, I think they see it as an “effeminate” profession, and therefore of no consequence in their “real” world.

baxter

LOL

Of course we get the BS sexism angle with zero evidence or reality from Tris.

RJ

What I’ve always thought is that we SHOULD be teaching our kids to question and research commonly held standards, theories and beliefs – and ESPECIALLY authority – authority bestowed by the ignorance of “elected govenment”, religion, and conservative bullies of all stripes. That’s not as easy to sneak discretionary skills into the “prescibed curriculum” as may be thought. Especially when you consider who “prescribes” the curriculum . . .

phlushie

and how about the $4,700,000,000 hand out to the corporations in Alberta. Talk about hands in the pocket, no it was a hand out of pocket to reduce revenues so you have to tax citizens who actually built the province.

George McCrea

Yeh all those corporate handouts going to wind,
solar and anything green companies.
Literally disgusting. Besides it was a reduction in tax rates
To ALL corporations large and small.
Hardly a handout. I know when I was in
Business the very first thing I did when receiving
Any tax reduction was fire someone,
cut others salary and ditched their benefits. NOT. Smh

RJ

Re Baxter says, January 16:

“As for the cheap shot at people owning expensive trucks good for them. I personally don’t have one and couldn’t afford a $100,000 4×4 but if other can I don’t begrudge them for doing so or feel any need to mock them for having different likes than I do.”

Of COURSE it’s a cheap shot! It’s an ad hominem attack, a tu quoque. Same kind of crap Environmentalists get from Tar Babies who think it’s clever to crack wise about energy and other environmentally destructive industries – such as “Do you drive a car?” “Do you live in a wooden house?” “It’s really cold – why don’t you turn off your furnace?” Logical fallacies perpetrated by the ignorant. You must figure I’m ignorant, so tit for tat . . .

You “have kids in school, have worked at schools, have family that are teachers and nurses, spent time in various areas of the hospitals in multiple cities in the province as well.” Good for you. Sorry for your kids and your family.

Why is it that the people who have done the MOST damage (I.e. voting UCP) are the LEAST apologetic? They REFUSE to address factual statistics and history, and dwell on unproven political and economic theories (e.g. Trickle Down), and spread hatred for the very people that want only the best political, social and economic climate for ALL Albertans, only to protect their fragile egos.
Well – there are DOZENS of psychological studies available to explain why people of rigid personality CANNOT admit to a wrong decision. They consider that self-destructive – it might make them look bad to those of my like-minded fellows in attitude.

Baxter – go look up the “Dunning-Kreuger” syndrome, and get in touch with yourself . . .

RJ Pisko, ATA ret.
Blairmore

RJ

What I’ve always thought is that we SHOULD be teaching our kids to question and research commonly held standards, theories and beliefs – and ESPECIALLY authority – authority bestowed by the ignorance of “elected govenment”, religion, and conservative bullies of all stripes. It’s not as easy to sneak discretionary skills into the “prescibed curriculum” as may be thought. Especially when you consider who “prescribes” the curriculum . . . and the some of the puppets paid to “enforce” adherence to the CURRICULUM”. One MUST read ” The Peter Principle” to fully appreciate that POV . . .

biff

great input, rj…hear! hear!