Editor, The Record:
Currently in B.C. there is an on-going labour dispute between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association. I would love to support the teachers and their requests, but I can’t for one reason. It is the same reason why I do not actively lend my voice to any public service union action, namely, the lack of evaluation, assessment and, when necessary, removal of an ineffective employee.
I believe the majority of teachers are competent at their jobs. There are some that are fantastic at their jobs. And then there are some who do not have the capacity to teach or manage a classroom and therefore should not have the responsibility of educating our children.
As a parent with three children in the public school system and having been on a PAC executive, I have witnessed a wide gamut of teachers’ education styles and levels of competency. Many parents have approached me seeking advice on how to address concerns over a teacher’s incompetence, but because of the current process (or lack thereof) I have been unable to provide assistance or even the hope that their situation might be addressed.
The current evaluation process is based on the assumption that there is a level of competency being met by all teachers. While recognizing that teachers must have some basic security against parents who, as the result of a misguided agenda, might attach blame to the teacher when their son or daughter is not thriving, I believe an internal process of evaluation, which parents can fully support and understand, must be implemented in order to resolve the issue of competency in teaching. At present there is no such recourse for parents whose children are on the receiving end of ineffective, and in some cases, destructive channels of education.
I worry that since a teacher’s union pay and security is greater than one can normally expect in the non-unionized, private middle-class sector, teachers who are ineffective will have no motivation to change career paths to something more suitable to their skills set. The economic cost to society to keep these teachers employed is too great, especially when considering the subsequent risk to the students they teach in terms of self-worth, social inclusion and educational growth.
If this one area were addressed in a meaningful manner I would lend my support to the BCTF.