Education Woes

Posted On: 11 December 2016

You may or may not have heard that there are Education Woes in Nova Scotia right now. The provincial government, who controls educational spending, hiring, firing, curricula, etc, is in conflict with the teacher's union. The contract has been up for renewal for well over a year, and the teachers keep rejecting each proposal. In fairness to the teachers, the proposal never changes, so there is really no reason to accept. And a couple months ago 96% (so, almost EVERY TEACHER) voted in favour of strike action. And we are now in the middle of job action; we have started with Work to Rule, but I suspect that it will progress to an all out strike. Yikes!

Here's the WILL get straightened out between the government and the union (eventually) and both sides will try to save face, and the teachers will get back to their work and the whole thing will fade away in the minds of the average NS citizen. We are all now saying that we will never forgive our government for this and will never re-elect them, and so on and so forth. But in reality, there are only so many choices when it comes to electing a government, and the possibility of this government being re-elected is probably solidly within in the 45% - 50% range. And any of the other parties could just as easily mess it up anyway. I would like to stay focused on the Education Woes, which are plenty. And the children should not be at the mercy of the arguing grownups.

After all our fighting and bargaining (or not) and passive-aggressive posturing, and after we get back to working our regular jobs in the schools, my fear is that we won't even have touched on the real issues facing education. The system, as it stands, is FUNDAMENTALLY flawed. It cannot be fixed by changing wages, adding or taking away service awards, or buying  data management software. At the CORE of the system, there is a desperate need for change. 

And these changes need to be within the purview of the teachers, NOT the government. Yes, there ought to be standards, and accountability, and curricula. After all, every profession has a governing body. There also needs to be autonomy and respect and trust. I'm not sure how this is to happen, but the sooner it happens, the sooner  our students will be better equipped to excel in the 'real world'. Society does not need graduates who know how to Google the answer. 

At least, that's how I see it.