Not a Proud Moment: A Catholic Teacher on OECTA

Not a Proud Moment: A Catholic Teacher on OECTA


UPDATE: There is a petition regarding this issue available here.

For anyone who hasn't heard the news, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) recently decided to express their values by marching in the WorldPride Parade in Toronto.  

As a parent and as a Catholic I am dumbfounded at the sheer obstinence of the teachers' union. If they can thumb their nose so clearly and openly at Catholic teaching, what then is the purpose of having a Catholic board at all?

I have to believe that practicing Catholic teachers within the Ontario boards are hurting from this. I decided to contact one such teacher that I know. We'll call her Carol. Carol candidly shared with me about how she feels by the union's actions.

Q. As a Catholic teacher paying union dues to OECTA, how did you feel about the announcement that they will be marching in the WorldPride Parade in Toronto this year?

A. It is very frustrating to be represented by leaders whose actions challenge Church teachings. When reading OECTA's reasoning, it is difficult to align myself with the thinking that standing in solidarity is an argument to challenge Catholic beliefs. The voices of a few are misrepresenting a large population of teachers.

Q. Do you think that other teachers feel this way? What recourse do they have if their union doesn't represent their religious beliefs?

A. I am confident that other teachers are outraged by OECTA's actions. Since we are governed democratically, our recourse is to communicate with our respective elected representatives. Calling the union to express grievances can be a tricky thing. I may not want to rock the boat with the individuals that I may need to advocate for me one day. It is unfortunate that fear is an element at play within a unionized environment. As a member of a union, your voice can ironically be silenced by the rules and norms that accompany unions.

Q. In your personal opinion, is there hope for the board to retain (or reclaim) its Catholic character? What would need to happen for this to take place?

A. Publicly funded Catholic education is in crisis. We need to be distinctly Catholic in order to justify our existence. Failing to do so will certainly lead to a province wide amalgamation. The Catholic character of a school board is vibrant in some boards while sadly dim in others. The former give me hope. What we need is for passionate Catholics to assume positions of leadership. Our directors, trustees, super intendants and school administrators must defend our faith with every decision they make. The general public must serve their civic duty by electing trustees that will represent Catholic values. Lastly, we Catholic teachers, of all grades and subjects, must continually make Christ relevant in the classroom. From literature to history to the quadratic formula, Christ's teachings must be included. We must teach the Gospel message both explicitly with our words and implicitly with our actions. Teachers must persevere in this mission, regardless of what our union and board administrators do or fail to do.


What can you and I do? You may wish to write to OECTA directly, or tweet at them at @OECTAprov, though I personally doubt their interest in hearing contrary viewpoints. I am and would recommend mailing a letter to the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario. Update: There is also a petition here, which reportedely Cardinal Collins of Toronto has himself signed.   

Question: How do you feel about OECTA's decision? Please join the conversation below.

You may also like: TCDSB Trustees: An "F" in Catholic Education

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