Opinion-Policy Nexus

That's the last line in a letter I received today in the mail from someone who read my recent column in the Record on why regulation 274 is bad for teacher hiring in Ontario.

This letter I received today had no return address and no name attached to it and so it's completely anonymous.  That's been one surprise about this whole debate.  Lots of people seem to be for or against the regulation but many don't want to be outed in terms of supporting or opposing it! They prefer to do it anonymously, and this includes current and retired adminstrators and teachers.

In the letter I received today, the individual tries to defend regulation 274 by recounting three stories from her/his past of nepotism. Each time, the hired teacher was described by the letter writer as mediocre.  And so the letter writer's point was that seniority is the answer to nepotism.

But the writer is completely wrong; seniority doesn't prevent mediocre teachers from getting hired.  It actually does the opposite and maximizes their chances at getting a job. At some point, mediocre teachers who stick it out will eventually rise to the top five on the LTO list in terms of seniority. When that happens, principals will have no choice but to hire one of those five mediocre teachers and the cycle will continue.  A job for every graduate, no matter your ability.  Just wait it out and you will eventually get that job.  So in fact, seniority as it is deployed in regulation 274 actually GUARANTEES that mediocre teachers will be hired.

The other issue that I've been thinking about is the effect of this regulation on diversity.  If it takes 5 years to eventually get a full-time, contract job, what kinds of teachers can stick it out long enough to land the job? Forget single mothers.  Forget couples where the spouse does not have a good paying job.  There are implications for the labour market here.

I still have yet to see a convincing argument for why Ontario needs regulation 274.  Again, if nepotism is the concern, regulation 274 doesn't address that problem.  It actually reinforces it!