The Presidents of 21 Canadian Teachers’ organizations – national, provincial, and territorial – have released a belief statement and call to action developed at their May 29-June 1, 2016 Meeting. The statement arose out of “overwhelming concerns about education reform, inclusive education, austerity budgets and teachers’ mental health and wellness.”
Receiving the statement courtesy of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, I (Clive) was truly blown away by it. It is brief, to the point, and timely, and ties in with so much of what researchers and practitioners around the world are concluding about teaching and schooling today.
The five-point Belief Statement is as follows:
- Austerity budgets undermine the strength of our public education system as students and their teachers lose out, and families are left out.
- Publicly funded public education must be fully funded to support student learning.
- A successful inclusive education model requires sufficient funding and teachers/educators to ensure student needs are addressed.
- Assessment of students is best left to the professional judgment of teachers.
- Fiscal deficits must not be solved at the expense of the public education system or on the backs of our children.
The Call to Action calls on governments across Canada to take immediate action to address the above concerns.http://www.otffeo.on.ca/en/news/presidents-of-canadian-teachers-organizations-release-belief-statement-and-call-to-action/
Some may argue that public funds are becoming scarcer today and everyone must cut back. However, assessment of students by teachers rather than by standardized tests (point 4) would save a lot of money and make schooling more effective: less time would be spent on test preparation. As for the adequate funding of public education, in the long run that pays for itself in terms of student success, economic productivity, societal well-being, and teacher retention and effectiveness.
A major reason for the past and present success of Canadian schooling – as seen in its solid PISA rankings – has been the relatively high status and funding of teaching in Canada. This has helped attract able people to the profession and keep them there. It is incredibly important not to erode this advantage. Let’s stand with the teachers’ organizations as they pursue this line of action.