Why do we reward teachers for NOT doing their jobs?

Lee Friday – February 22, 2017

Canadian Press Headline, August 31, 2016: Half of Ontario Grade 6 students failed to meet provincial math standard

Canadian Press Headline, February 14, 2017: Tentative deal gives Ontario elementary teachers pay raise

According to the August article, Education Minister Mitzie Hunter released a statement which reads, in part, “Improving student success remains our highest priority.” Really? Well, the article tells us there has been “a steady decline in test scores over the past five years.” Therefore, if improving student success has always been the highest priority, then those tasked with achieving this goal have clearly failed.

Where is the accountability which the government constantly promises to deliver? Heads should roll. All of the teachers and bureaucrats who are responsible for this mess should be fired. Then, those who have retained their jobs just might be incentivized to ‘up their game’. Makes sense, right? But that is not how the government operates. Unions, labour laws, and political cronyism guarantees that performance will always take a back seat to job security.

Commenting on contract negotiations, the February article quotes Minister Hunter, “It’s important that we have the resources in place on behalf of students and as we work together with our unions we’re ensuring that we’re meeting the needs of our students in Ontario.” What?! How can she say this? The August article proves they are NOT meeting the needs of students!

Over the years, we have been subjected to many offensive, self-serving, disingenuous speeches from bureaucrats and politicians professing concern for students. The conflict-of-interest of the speechmakers is palpable.

Teachers and bureaucrats constantly assure us the welfare and performance of students is their primary goal. However, when these groups are rewarded instead of punished for their failure to achieve this goal, it becomes apparent that their own welfare is their primary goal. And this is a goal which they can easily achieve, as it reflects the essence of government. The coercive nature of government means that its revenues (taxes) are guaranteed, regardless of performance.

The August article says nothing about incompetent teachers and bureaucrats, but it does mention a $60 million plan (more taxes) to improve those math scores. And now the teachers get raises. Whenever the government fails to effectively deliver a particular service, their solution is always the same, “Taxpayers have to give us more money.”

Giving salary increases to teachers has nothing to do with any ostensible concern for students. The Wynne government is floundering, and extending teacher contracts into 2019 ensures labour peace, which ensures the happiness of these public-sector employees leading up to the 2018 election. Parents will also be happy they don’t have to worry about a teachers’ strike during this same period. But this does not mean parents are happy with the performance of teachers, and by extension, the bureaucracy.

Only within the hallowed halls of government is inefficiency celebrated, rewarded, and thus encouraged. If the private sector adopted this philosophy, it would soon cease to exist, which means everyone would be unemployed, including teachers, bureaucrats, and politicians, because there would be no more tax dollars to support them.

For parents, students (age 12 +), and open-minded teachers, I recommend a short and easy to read book, titled Dumbing Us Down, written by John Taylor Gatto, a former New York City, and New York State, teacher of the year.

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