Tuesday January 4, 2010
BC Greens Challenge Falcon On Evaluations
Teachers aren't the problem with lower marks — class sizes are
Submitted by Rebecca Helps, Green Party
hat it would take to build a better education system.
"It's a relief that the leadership candidates are at least starting to talk about something of substance," said Julius Bloomfield, deputy leader of the Green Party of BC. "Kevin Falcon's announcement that he wants to see teachers getting paid for performance may seem to be a good idea to some, but we would like to know what that means; how he plans to implement it; and who is going to evaluate the teachers?
"The current standard for testing school kids, the Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA), has in the past been handed over to the Fraser Institute for analysis, much to the annoyance of the teachers union. Is Falcon going to let the Fraser Institute have a part in evaluating teachers?
"Whatever he has in mind he, and the BC Liberals would be well advised to include all parties such as the teachers' union, school boards, parents, students, academics and citizens in the debate on how to improve education. That is of course if he is intending to have a true debate.
"Surely it would be better to first take some basic steps that we know will have an immediate impact on our children's performance at school. During the last election campaign I had the opportunity to witness the work of school children at private schools. These children are not special cases, they are not selected on their IQ, the teachers generally come out of the public school system, yet their accomplishments are impressive by any standard. The difference is in class size.
"The class size in a private school is usually a lot less than in the public system, resulting in better attention being paid to all children. The result is that no children 'fall through the cracks' which can happen in the public system.
"If we implemented smaller class sizes for K-4, children will enter middle school with a better level of education, better integration skills, and more importantly better work habits. Taking these work habits into middle and high school would help them get a meaningful education.
"The next step is to help high school kids get the education that will give them the best tools for the working world or further education. Streaming high school into trade schools and academic schools will help keep kids interested in school and prepare them with the diploma's they need to get work once their education is over. This may stem the tide of university graduates ending up in meaningless jobs where their education has no relevance.
"Then perhaps we can start the conversation on how to improve teachers' performance. My guess is that with these and other improvements to our schools, the results will show that the teachers are not the problem, the system is at fault," concluded Bloomfield.
About the Green Party of BC
The Green Party of BC is the only major party in BC today with no debt. A Green economy would run on the principles of triple-bottom-line accounting, rewarding organizations and individuals that practise environmental, social and economic sustainability and aligning government expenditure decisions with citizens' wishes. www.greenparty.bc.ca
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