Catholic Teachers Remain Resilient and Focused: Union Leader

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WINDSOR — Catholic teachers in Windsor-Essex remain resilient and focused while on the picket line as 1,800 Catholic high school and elementary educators take part in a province-wide strike Thursday.

It follows some movement by the province earlier this week after Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced it was backing down on class size and e-learning requirements.

Average class sizes for high schools will be 23 and parents will give parents the chance to opt-out their children from e-learning courses.

Local Catholic Teacher's Union President Joe Brannagan says the union stance remains strong.

"Everybody knows that what is best for the students, is best for teachers and is best for everybody in Ontario," he says. 

Brannagan says he remains positive based on the information he is getting from the union's president.

He says the consultations prove the teacher's unions are on the right track.

"70% of the parents said don't touch class sizes, no we are not in favour of e-learning so that is just reflected in the great support we have got from Windsor and Essex County parents and the community as a whole," says Brannagan.

Talks are continuing today between the province and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association. 

Meanwhile, Minister Lecce released a statement Thursday afternoon saying he has offered all teachers' union federations a "fair and reasonable plan, which should pave the way to reaching a good deal that keeps students in class."

The statement goes on to read:

"The government has consistently made reasonable moves - effectively freezing class room sizes, a parental opt out for online learning, a commitment to full-day kindergarten, and one hundred per cent investment in special education. The time for a deal is now, I urge the unions to stop this disruptive escalation and return to the table to get a deal that is fair for parents, students, and educators."