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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 20, Number 1, September 2007

Roaring 20s legislation: Implications for teachers

"...they have the authority to stroll into our classrooms, to look around at what our students are doing, to ask parents what they think of us, to interview us, and to direct us. "– Kate Noakes

Holli Garvin (Quesnel)

When the teachers find out more about it, they will also be shocked, maybe a little surprised, or maybe not, but I believe that if the parents were really informed of the bills, if we were to ask them would you rather your children spend time doing tests in the classroom or would you rather have the learning–they would say the learning.

Glen Hansman (Vancouver)

The moment that the minister introduced those three bills, we were horrified because all these duties add more and more layers of bureaucracy and watch-dogging at the ministry level and does nothing to place tools into teachers’ hands, and to put resources into classrooms.

Chris Janzen (Langley)

Bills 20, 21, and 22 raised a lot of concerns for me. I’m worried about the amount of control being centralized by these bills—teachers no longer have as much say in the classroom when it comes to what’s needed for children. You have people who are administrators trying to tell us how we should best do our work in the classrooms. That really concerns me.

Superintendents of achievement—well that strikes directly at the whole heart of the matter. What is being imposed by the government is the idea that testing, data-driven results from students, or what is important to them rather than the actual instruction in the classroom. That to me is of great concern because it shows which way this government is going, where they want public education to go, and how it really isn’t going to help students at all.

Kate Noakes (Fernie)

What strikes me as very typical of our education system is that when we want to communicate with the government, we have multi-echelons through which we have to speak to the point where our voice is muffled by the time it gets to the top, but if they want to know what we’re up to, they have the authority to stroll into our classrooms, to look around at what our students are doing, to ask parents what they think of us, to interview us, and to direct us. I think that when they want to have direct contact–when they need to interfere with the learning process for whatever political agenda they might have–their access is immediate and complete. When we want to have some kind of impact on their political process, our access is virtually denied. So things that we really need help with, that we are asking them for are, again, like shouting into a sponge.

Tom Potts (Kelowna)

Here we are, again, subject to some fairly significant legislative change in education in British Columbia. Although change is not necessarily a negative thing generally speaking, the thing that we find ourselves continuously immersed in is a constant process of change and often I don’t think it gives us enough time to develop the necessary stability that fosters the thoughtful delivery of the syllabus in schools.

Dave Wills (Vancouver Island West)

In order to act on Bills 20 to 22, teachers first of all need to have the information, how it is going to impact them, and how it is going to impact the kids. Once they have that information, we’re really good at getting together in our locals and supporting one another and presenting a common front.

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