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Thursday November 16th we learned that the Ontario Community College teaching staff have voted with a resounding "NO" to ending the 5 week strike. I have been told that the Fanshawe faculty in the London and area in the initial vote did not choose to go on strike.

500,000 students who have paid their fees with absolutely no say have been denied their right to go to school because of the dispute between the colleges and the teachers.

When told of the vote to end the strike the media treated the results as a given, that the teachers, would vote against the union hierarchy, to accept the terms and go back to work. Wrong. The college teacherís voted not to accept the contract and the strike continues..

Our young people have a right to be angry and at the same time troubled that their first semester education is in jeopardy.

Teaching staff have told me that they "did not choose to be a part of an adversarial role walking the picket lines in front of the college." The teachers speak about the worry about academic freedom while the students that pay their salaries with their fees are denied a meaningful education.

You do not go into teaching because of the money but rather the chance to make a difference in the lives of young people. Eight months of classes teaching students who have chosen to go to post secondary school is a walk-in-the-park compared to trying to work with some of the high school teenagers who do not want to really attend school on a regular basis.

I was employed by the Thames Valley School Board for 30 years in the secondary school panel and went on strike for one whole day marching off to Queenís Park to protest our grievances on a Friday and was happy to be back to teaching on Monday morning.

Summers/ Christmas, Easter, week ends off with the family to recharge oneís batteries sure beats the hell out at working on the line in a factory. The teacherís income with tenure is comparable to elementary/ secondary teachers at maximum salaries approaching $100,000 per school year along with an excellent indexed pension benefits.

Students who have worked very hard to save their minimum wage summer salaries to be able to have a chance at an education have been left in the lurch.

Martha one of my young students , who is in the Nursing ,BSCN, degree program at Fanshawe College, has had her co-op hospital placement put on hold because of lack of faculty to oversee her work term. With tears in her eyes she told me that she was very troubled that without intervention that she may lose her whole year because of the strike.

Our Premier, Katherine Wynne, has suggested that the two sides put aside their differences and come together to make a contract. There should be no suggestions but rather a firm directive by the Ontario Legislature to order the teachers back to work forthwith. After the students get back to classes that they have paid for the province should appoint a mediator and mandatory arbitration should prevail. Each side appoints a representative and the mediator plays the role of judge and jury. In the end it should all be about our studentís having the right to go to classes and receive their education.

This is the first time you have read a letter to the editor to the Singpost where I am angry. The lack of caring showed by the Community Colleges and the teachers has to be resolved asap.

The legislatures, college administration, union all owe our post secondary school college students their right to be able to go back to their Fanshawe College classes.

Len Lesser is an education/career counselor lenlesser@hotmail.com

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com