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January 24, 1999

Teacher unions plan for election

By JACKIE BURNS -- Toronto Sun
  Teachers' unions are getting a head start on the next provincial election, mapping out their campaign battle before a voting date has even been set.
 About 500 union leaders and local presidents from the province's four affiliates met at a downtown hotel yesterday to discuss the importance of helping communities make an educated choice.
 "No one party has the answer to it," said Phyllis Benedict, president of the elementary teachers' union.
 But she said it's up to local union reps to go back to their communities, spread the message of "what good education is," and then "people can make the best decision when it comes to voting."
 
 'HARD WORK'
 She said the goal is to get "two-way communication" between the communities and its educators.
 "We need to ask the community what they see as the focus for education ... If they're working together, it's a much stronger message that goes out" to the province, she said.
 Benedict said elements of "good education" include making sure schools have the proper funding and program implementation.
 It's also about being accountable to parents and making sure students are prepared to move on to the next level, she said.
 "We need to be able to articulate to this province what is a good education," she said.
 "There really isn't a lot of glitz and glamour to this, it's just a lot of hard work."

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