Tuesday 10 July 2012

Educational Maelstroms

Nice to see you'll support pension cuts,
shame that was never on the table

I find myself in a bit of an educational maelstrom at the moment.  Government twitter trolls who like to tell me I must be enjoying my summer off instead get sharp replies about my sitting in a computer lab in Milton taking my 3rd AQ in 7 years of teaching.  When I'm done here I'll have 4 teachables (English, history, visual arts and computer engineering).

I've also taught summer school four times.  Since I started teaching in 2004, my summers have been busy, and expensive.  I know there are teachers who don't do additional training.  I also know that whenever I did training when I worked in the private sector, they paid for it.  Getting lumped in with a brand of teacher who expects more for less makes me angry, I'm not that guy.

I also attend Edcamps, self directed professional development.  I can't recall ever seeing my private sector colleagues driving an hour out of their way on a Saturday morning to spend the day learning how to do their jobs better.  Then there are the conferences (that take a lot more of my time than just the day or two of school I miss) where I spend a lot of my own time developing educational theory and training for (I hope) the benefit of teachers and students.

I'm immensely proud of Ontario's education system, and don't see it as a political pawn to be used in a game that has more to do with financial shell games than anything real.  I'm a liberal who can't vote liberal any more.  Worse, I'm a voter who doesn't know what the point is any more, because political parties in Ontario only stand for re-election, they don't actually stand for anything else.

I haven't mentioned the department headship I took on with minimal notice and then was attacked for taking on in a full time capacity; working with teachers can be very tiring.  I haven't mentioned the sixty or so hours I spend each year coaching soccer.  I can't understand why my own government is intent on generating public hatred at my expense for their own ends.

I'm not sure what I did wrong.  Looking at any metric you care to apply, we do more at less cost than just about any education system in the first world.  Our cost to performance ratio is excellent.

Instead we get strung up, vilified and turned on by the very government that won office by scare mongering the electorate away from the blue myopia.

Ontario will bail out poorly run businesses because they live in the 'real world' and are meaningful, tough, manly ways to make a living?  They drive the economy?  If that were the case, we'd still be in a destitute market that eats itself to pay 1% of the population.  If you think private business will do anything other than the least it has to while feeding itself, you're naive, and dangerous.  The economy is like a cockroach, let it pick up the scraps, you don't feed it steak.

Thank goodness we have higher standards in education, health care, and other services.  If we ran the province like GM, or American banks, or Blackberry, we'd be in real trouble (though we would have a small group of hospital administrators and school superintendents who were immensely wealthy).

I guess that's where we headed, because if we're gonna stink, we might as well all stink equally.