Excellence in Education Comes From Collaboration, not Confrontation
Posted on May 05, 2014 by Greg Clark
There is some good and some bad in today's report of the Task Force on Teaching Excellence, says Alberta Party leader Greg Clark.
"I support the idea of providing increased teacher supports through professional development, internships and mentoring new teachers," said Clark. "Any plan that uses collaborative approaches to develop and retain high quality teachers deserves our support. Engaged, professional teachers create better learning opportunities for our kids."
"When teachers are valued it is easier for them to focus on getting the best out of their students."
The proposal to force teachers to recertify every five years sends the wrong message.
"Recertification will strain the relationship between the province and teachers," said Clark. "More importantly, there's no evidence to show that this is an effective method of improving education for our kids."
"The #1 goal of our education system should be to give our kids the tools they need to compete and excel in a rapidly changing world," said Clark. "A supportive culture in our education system allows teachers to focus on the kids. An adversarial, bureaucratic and costly process creates unnecessary conflict and won't lead to better results for our kids."
"Alberta is under-funding education. We don't have enough schools and per-student funding continues to drop, but somehow the province can come up with the money to create a new bureaucracy to evaluate teachers without any evidence that this leads to better student outcomes," said Clark.
Clark says the track record of similar initiatives isn't good. "The state of Michigan has had teacher recertification for decades and their education system ranks in the bottom half of US states, as low as 46 out of 50 by one analysis," said Clark. "New Zealand has also introduced teacher recertification and they rank up to nine spots lower than Alberta on global rankings.
"We need partnership, not punishment," said Clark. "I would much rather see the government work closely with teachers, principals and school boards to ensure there are appropriate professional development opportunities and that any teachers who are not making the grade are given the tools they need to improve, or dismissed in the rare cases where that's needed."