Kevin Falcon, believed to be a leading contender to replace Premier re-signate Campbell, has come forth with what can only be describe as the most arcane and idiotic of suggestions: a profit motive for better teaching. Here’s the skinny from the horses mouth himself:
“I want to see good teachers rewarded,” Mr. Falcon said in an interview, vowing that education reform would be at the top of his agenda. “When you look at education … it is not how great your physical facilities are, it’s not how fantastic the technology in the classroom is. It is actually the teacher at the front of the classroom that is the best determinant of student outcomes.”
So the idea is, reward good teachers and punish the bad ones. But how do we decide who is a good teacher and who isn’t? Well, the good ole U.S of A has tried this one before. In a nutshell, you test the students at certain levels to see how they are doing. If they are preforming above average, then the teacher is doing well and will get more money. If they are performing below average, the teacher is doing a bad job and will not get any desert after supper.
Now, I’m sure all the common sense people out there wont even scratch their heads on this one. They will jump for joy at the recommendation that teachers be paid based on the standardized testing of students.
But hold on, what’s this? The former Minister of Education in BC George Abbot, who is also running to be premier I might add, doesn’t quite cotton to this idea:
“…one can’t take one element from the American experience and think that it is going to translate into a better education system in British Columbia without first working through that idea and two dozen others that might build a better education system for British Columbia…Far better that we try to address the education system holistically”
It should be no surprise though to hear such an awfully bad idea come from Kevin Falcon. This guy LOVES competition and privatization. I’m sure they are his two favorite words. But the education system is far more complicated, far more nuanced then just paying teachers for high test scores. Teaching itself is more then test scores. How do you test someones love for reading or playing an instrument or even being socially engaged? You can’t. I also expect the Fraser Institute will come out guns blazing in support of this proposal. This, coming from the group that used to support child labour.
No, merit based pay doesn’t work. This is why developed nations, except the US of course, don’t use this system. Instead, well funded schools (instead of paying six million to Liberal party insiders), and appropriate class sizes are just two of the things that the BC government can do to make education better in BC. The Campbell government has wrecked havoc on our school system. Why the hell would we want to bring in yet ANOTHER stupid policy to further disintegrate it.
If your own team doesn’t support you’re ridiculous ideas, perhaps you should go back to the drawing board. Also, as an addition, to anyone who doesn’t think this is an attempt to distract from the HST, which Falcon fully and wholeheartedly support, to hell with you.
Cross Posted at Sister Sage’s Musings