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Vision for 2020

| Unionization

Stop a moment, cease your work, and look around you.

Thomas Carlyle, educator

Especially as this is my first article as Secretary General, it would not only be a gross exaggeration to suggest that the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) elected leadership and staff have ceased work, it would also be a foolhardy assertion. However, the truth is that we have in recent months intentionally carved time out of our regular responsibilities and emerging issues to take a careful look around, both inside CTF and outside, at the national and global context in which our work is situated. Since September 2014, CTF elected leadership and staff have, in fact, been engaged in a thoughtful strategic planning process—an important exercise in looking around.

Guided by the PATH Process,[1] we have taken stock of the context in which we work; developed a vision for the CTF of 2020; and articulated an initial set of annual goals (related to membership in CTF, partnerships, visibility and governance) to help us progress along the path to realizing our vision. Periods of reflection and evaluation, as well as on-going planning are inherent in the process.

Cassandra Hallett, a former Program Officer in CTF’s International Program since 2003, is CTF’s new Secretary General, effective January 2, 2015.

Better known as Cassie, she began her career as a teacher in 1992 (although family and friends pegged her as a teacher long before). Teaching took Cassie from her home province of Nova Scotia to the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and, more recently, Tanzania; a teacher to the core, she will happily tell stories of wonderful experiences in each school she taught.

In addition to teaching, Cassie’s career in education has included a variety of leadership roles. Before joining the CTF staff, she served as the first full-time Professional Development Coordinator in Nunavut and was an English Language Arts Coordinator for both the Kivalliq School Division and the Nunavut Department of Education. She was twice elected President of the Kivalliq regional teachers’ association and also served on the central executive of both the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association (NWTTA) and the founding executive of the Nunavut Teachers’ Association (NTA). She is a proud alumnus of CTF’s Project Overseas (1999 and 2002).

Cassie is a strong advocate for quality inclusive publicly funded public education and a proud mother to two elementary aged children who teach her a great deal each and every day.

By 2020, the centenary of CTF, we expect our organization to be the national bilingual GO TO VOICE for publicly funded public education with:

  • Strong membership

  • Formal and informal national and international partnerships

  • A mutually respectful working relationship with the Federal government

We further plan that CTF will be:

  • Seen or referenced regularly by Canadian teachers and others

  • Recognized and respected at the grassroots and internationally

  • Integrated in the plans and activities of every CTF Member organization and of Education International

  • Focused on the Teaching Profession and Advocacy and Labour Rights through actions and initiatives rooted in analysis and research

  • A driver for change in publicly funded public education

  • Highly effective in collaborating and sharing resources and strengths with and among Member organizations and partners

  • A learning, growing organization, on solid financial footing, independent and non-partisan

We invite our colleagues in Member and partner organizations to continue to engage and collaborate with us as we strive to co-create this vision. Not since the early days of trade unionism has the need for unity been greater. Publicly funded public education is under threat, and not just in other countries. Attempts to de-professionalize the teaching profession continue to occur. Pressures on teacher time seem to be growing exponentially as expectations intensify. And the list goes on.

At CTF, we are committed to working with and serving our Member organizations to ensure our collective strengths are harnessed as effectively as possible to advance the teaching profession and protect the labour rights of teachers, always with the well-being and learning of children and youth at the forefront of our actions. The Vision for 2020 is intended to clarify the way forward for our federation.

In keeping with the strategic vision, CTF program and service areas have been revised and we have created two new departments to complement the work of Services to Francophones and Research and Analysis. In order to fully realize our role as national advocates for the well-being of children and youth and the teaching profession, CTF has created a department of Advocacy. Bob McGahey has been appointed to the role of CTF Director, Advocacy. We are delighted to have Bob as part of the CTF staff leadership team serving our Member organizations. The other new program area is Services to the Profession. Here we bring together two vibrant and sought-after CTF social justice programs – Imagineaction and the International Program. Effective April 1, 2015, Brigitte Bergeron will join the staff team at CTF as Director of Services to the Profession. We very much look forward to welcoming Brigitte to CTF.

As educator Rosabeth Moss Kanter said, “a vision is not just a picture of what would be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.”

Thank you to the elected leadership and staff who have both sounded and responded to
the call for CTF to build on its strengths and strive to be something more.

[1] The PATH process was developed by Marsha Forest and Jack Pearpoint in the early 1990s. Although it is most often referred to by its acronym its full name is Planning Alternative Tomorrow’s with Hope. PATH has been used successfully by many provincial and territorial teacher organizations, as well as other organizations, groups, and individuals for strategic planning.

Vision for 2020