Teaching Is A Sacred Profession And Teachers Must Not Be Evaluated


     Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives.

Alberta education debate teaches new lessons in nonsense

By Ian Robinson, Calgary Sun

This is what crazy looks like.

Your employer says: “Hey buddy! We’re going to keep track of how you’re doing at work. And we’re gonna run you through a little checklist every five years to see if you still know your stuff.”

And virtually every worker in every niche of the economy would say, “Um … okay. Weren’t you doing that already? I mean, how bad a manager are you that you haven’t been keeping track of how I’m doing? Why hasn’t this place cratered if you haven’t been doing that? What’s wrong with you? Why haven’t shareholders revolted and sold us off for pennies on the dollar? Is that why I’m surrounded by incompetence? Because it’s official company policy? I thought it was just my department!”


   Whether they “know their stuff” is irrelevant when there is a much more useful metric. What their students have learned is what’s important.

That is, unless you are a member of a special and delicate, protected sub-species of worker. Unless you are a teacher. Then, such a proposal becomes insane. Wacky even.

Or, as teacher’s union boss Mark Ramsankar puts it: “It can be viewed very simply as a direct assault on teachers in the province and on the profession itself.”


    “Direct assault.” Among civil servants, this is known as reasoned discourse.

Those proposals are contained in a report from the Task Force for Teaching Excellence.

Kent Hehr, the Liberal MLA, says: “Sprinkled in with a handful of well intentioned recommendations are right-wing Republican-styled ideas that can only be interpreted as a direct attack on Alberta’s teachers and their association.”

If only.

Based on those responses, you could be forgiven for assuming that the Alberta Tories have gone and produced a document that is the educational version of Mein Kampf.

But no. The biggies that are causing such a reaction are certification every five years and changing the disciplinary process that governs teachers.

In most cases, it’s the teacher’s union that both defends a teacher and decides whether that teacher keeps their certificate. Which pretty much defines the term “conflict of interest.”

In the last decade, not a single one of Alberta’s 40,000 teachers had their certificate pulled because of incompetence.

Not. A. Single. One.

If that’s not an indication that the existing system is irretrievably broken, I don’t know what it would take.

For not a single incompetent teacher to exist in a pool of 40,000 individuals, local laws of probability would have to be suspended.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this report is a fine piece of work.

It is vapid. And bloated. And chock full to bursting of airy ideas about how teachers shouldn’t have to tell your kids stuff that they need to know.

Go read it online if you don’t believe me.

You can find that report and a bunch of other stuff about where education is headed in this province at inspiring.education.alberta.ca

Bring your own barf bag. Cause it’s not headed to a good place.

The underlying problem is that our government has yet to figure out that continuing to follow in the footsteps of organizational guru and management expert Josef Stalin is a bad idea.

Central planning doesn’t result in good outcomes.

Central planning stifles creativity and innovation.

Central planning is always — always — a disaster.

In the name of imposing uniform standards and control, Alberta’s Tories have neutered local school boards.

They’re doing to education what they’ve done to the health-care system — turned it into a giant bureaucracy where intelligence and innovation goes to die.

Making it easier to fire teachers is probably a great idea.

But the fact that the very notion that one of them could be canned for incompetence has created such ire among the teachers union and politicians?

That in itself is a sign of how far gone the system is.​


   Public education, or public enterprise of any kind, is not broken because it was never not broken. One cannot break something which was never whole.

Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “Days of Songs and Mirrors: A Jacobite in the ‘45.”
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies


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