Volume 91, Issue 38

Wednesday, November 5, 1997

Nip it in the bud


In support of Ontario teachers

Re: Teachers have no business striking, Oct.31

To the Editor:

Like most people I have spoken to, I do not believe that the teachers' unions nor the provincial government really have the best interests of students at heart. They both have their own agendas to pursue. But sooner or later you have to make a decision as to who you support and I think it comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils. For me, I will side with the teachers. Letters such as the one written by Paul Andrusyshyn only serve to remind me that I am probably making the right choice.

I have concerns about putting uncertified people in the classroom. Sure, real world experience is a good thing, but knowing all about something has nothing to do with the ability to teach it. There are, for example, some professors at Western who clearly have accumulated a great deal of knowledge in their area of study, but they can't teach. And what sort of individual is going to pursue these jobs? Would, for example, the people in the computer science department pass on the chance to work at Nortel in order to teach grade school students how to use WordPerfect at a salary less than what teachers make?

Mr. Andrusyshyn claims that government should be in charge of education because: 1) they are elected and 2) they can be trusted to spend the money wisely and efficiently. We have as our elected Premier a man who admits the last novel he read was a Hardy Boys mystery. Do government supporters really think Mike formulates government policy? I suspect he can't count up to 22 without getting naked. The individuals who draw up public policy are not elected, they are appointed. They are not directly accountable to you or I or anyone else. As for the second point, I find it rather amusing that the same institution that caused the financial situation we find ourselves in is also the only one that can be trusted to spend our money well.

There is a bit of a credibility problem as well. What should the average person think when the education minister insists that no further cuts will be made to the education system, only for the premier to state that $60 million more will be cut and then increases that number to $1 billion. Yet at the same time, Mike Harris tells us his first priority is to improve the education system. Of course, this is the same man who is on record saying that if elected he would not close a single hospital. I think that the government should explain exactly how these additional cuts will benefit students. If there is no connection, they should at least be honest enough to say so.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Andrusyshyn hopes Bill 160 will raise the quality of education. I'm not sure what it says about the state of the political system in Ontario when even ardent supporters can only hope government policy will accomplish what it says it will.

Robert Webber
Honours Computer Science & Psychology II

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Copyright The Gazette 1997