Position of power
Re: Teachers Failing, Nov.4
To the Editor:
As Mr. Wells' scathingly eloquent letter demonstrates, there is a high level of public dissatisfaction with our education system. To Mr. Wells' indictment of the system, I would add the system's tendency to aim for the achievement of minimum standards rather than encouraging students to achieve their best; a tendency which I believe fosters mediocrity. Unfortunately, however, education reform is not the issue at stake with respect to the present teachers' strike. The issue, as has been repeated ad nauseam, is one of power: namely, whether it is legislators or educators who are to have the power to implement education reform.
As far as I can tell, the Ontario government's notion of education reform is the implementation of legislation permitting the withdrawal of funds from the system. While it is difficult to imagine how this will improve education, that is not really the point. The real problem with the government's methods and proposals is that they perpetuate an atmosphere of blaming others instead of assuming responsibility; they encourage antagonism rather than co-operation. In order to strengthen public education, we need collaboration between officials, teachers, parents and students.
Lastly, I hope that Mr. Wells' letter was motivated more by contempt for the education system than out of a sincere belief that our present social and economic uncertainty is necessarily something about which we should put up and shut up.