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TEACHERS.NET GAZETTE
MARCH 2001
Volume 2 Number 3

COVER STORY
Teachers.Net celebrates 5 years this month! Read about how teachers across the planet have visited and contributed to shape this most dynamic of collaborative educator projects!
COLUMNS
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Alfie Kohn Article
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Jan Fisher Column
BCL Classroom by Kim Tracy
ARTICLES
Reform Demands on Educators
Bullies: Advice for Teachers
Around the Block With...
Are Black Children Treated Differently?
The Cherub
Brain Awareness Week
Celebrating Dr. Seuss
The Issue of Violence in Our Schools
Rethinking How We Raise Teenagers
Contextual Clarity Before Curricular Concept
Early Mainstreaming for Visually Impaired
How Do You Stop a Bully?
Technology Integration
Is Distance Learning For You?
Short Fiction Paradigm Shift
The Unsinkable Sub
Things I Learned From My Daughter
Preventing Rules From Falling Apart
REGULAR FEATURES
Web News & Events
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Letters to the Editor
New in the Lesson Bank
Humor from the Classroom
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
Gazette Back Issues
Gazette Home Delivery:

Letters to the Editor...
union misrepresentation

WHO'S FUTURE IS AT STAKE?

Todays children will be tomorrows
government, teachers, business leaders,
artists, mothers, fathers. Look ahead, will
things be differant? Will the complaints
and problems of today fix themselves? Will
our governance administer this country in
an efficient, fair, meaningful and relevant
way? Will our schools produce a population
that expects accountability from its
government or education system? That
demands it? Or will this tired road we
travel continue on into the sunset.

An education system of any society decides
what that society will aspire to, or
succumb to. Education shouldn't just be
about how much you learn, and how well you
learn it.

Education is only limited by the quantity,
and assortment of voices that feed into the
system.

Who or what is our education system today?

Education in a representative society
should be the sum of what the society
demands and expects. Or conversely,
education ends up being whatever gets
slopped on the plate. Gruel if you ask me.
Any true education system must include the
insight, advice, and co-operation of all
parties involved, or it really can't be
called education. It just becomes input
without purpose, or input with meaningless
purpose.

Students, teachers, parents, Boards and
community. This is the co-operative that
should be an education system. It should
consult, exchange ideas, identify problems,
put forth solutions, and in general serve
the best interests of our children, and
society. But of course, they are our kids!

Do we really need a government making laws
and regulations regarding education? Are we
not the government? Is the common sense of
the peoples of the community not enough to
set the standard by? Does the government
really have to tell us what our children
should be learning? Do we really want that,
especially when we are so quick to attach
failing grades to government! It is so
limiting! Maybe they could set minimum
standards, but there is nothing wrong with
individuality in schools, just as in kids,
and adults.

Todays education system bears no
resemblance to what a true education system
should be due to the influence of the
unions. Its not their fault, they are just
good at what they do. Excellent actually.

Excellent education requires seeking and
understanding opposing views, honesty, and
challenge, but to name a few things. An
excellent education system requires seeking
opposing views, admitting weaknesses, and
allowing those in the system to speak their
minds. Unfortunately, this is where the
influence of the union starts to strangle
the system. Honesty is not tolerated, or
its just ignored. Admitting weakness in the
system is only acceptable if its the
governments weakness that is being
expounded upon. Suggestions for improvement
must be analyzed with the effect on the
teacher being the priority, with nary a
thought for the effect on the students. Of
course how change will effect teachers is a
priority, but can't we hear from the
teachers themselves? From their hearts? I
mean they are entrusted with teaching our
children, does the union not think they can
put a few sentences together? Can we at
least see some semblance of their own
opinion? It would be quite a refreshing
change from the postulations we are
subjected to from the "official" voice of
the teachers.

As a matter of fact, couldn't we hear the
teachers suggest changes, or improvements
required in the system? Why are they not
allowed to speak? They are the most
meaningful fragment in the maze we call
education. How many teachers I speak to
that would rather not talk about education.
With all the controversy around education,
and teachers would rather not talk about
it? That sure sounds like "I can't really
say what I want, because it doesn't fit the
party line and I'd better play it safe."

The strangling, silencing, "we must approve
everything" mentality that the union has
managed to impose on our system has
effectively ensured that students,
improvement, and accountability will never
be a top priority. It is not in their best
interest, and somehow this mentality has
been allowed to prescribe what happens in
education. The prescripton amounts to an
overdose of self-sustaining hog-wash, that
has absolutely no credibility beyond self-
sustaining hog-wash. The unions must be
reminded of who they work for, and why they
were allowed to become part of our
education system.

The founding principles of our system are
entirely regressive to what they should be.

The group that frowns upon freedom of
expression and thought, and has the least
interest in the children, gets the most
influence in the system. I am a parent, and
I should be part of this system. The union
does NOT speak for parents or our children,
and we do NOT like what they say when they
do speak. They have been allowed to pillage
the population of this great country of
education systems that should be allowed to
flourish, adapt, and accommodate
individuals that are part of Canada in the
many individual parts of Canada. Instead
our children learn to point the finger at
the government.

Its not the governments fault! We are the
government! Stop teaching our children to
blame someone else! That is exactly how we
got into this mess in the first place. This
is supposed to be OUR education system, NOT
the unions!

The government is forced to stick its nose
where it doesn't belong to curb the decay
of what is supposed to be an education
system. Boards deem parents only fit to
volunteer in schools so they don't have to
deal with the reality of suggestions that
they can't implement due to the outrage
that unions will automatically muster.
Teachers are caught in the middle trying to
appease all. Students get stuck with
whatever ends up trickling down, and
parents throw up their hands saying this is
as good as we can possibly expect.

Why the great fear to tackle this issue as
it needs to be tackled? The welfare of kids
and society in general comes well before
the appeasement of the few. The experts
have, and are, blowing it!! This isn't
about whether unions are good or bad, but
unfortunately this is the only way they and
their supporters look at the education
problem. Its the exact reason the whole
system must be re-evaluated, by ALL
participants involved!

Government screw ups mostly, Board
mismanagement a little, and union effect 0
Thats where the responsibility is placed on
the mismanagement of the education system.

I am sure you wish the union issue to be
visited if you are concerned about
education.
0 responsibility for the union is being a
bit light-handed, no?
If you don't think they play any role, then
ignore the rest of this post.
Ive played the edu-game for the last 5
years and frankly im sick of it. Done all
the meetings, played all the roles, and it
sucks.

Im just coming to some very basic
conclusions, that for some reason everyone
is denying exists!
Why does this become a pro, or anti union
issue?
Nobody is saying that the union is a cancer
that has to be cut out of the picture,
there is lots of bucks for them still!! Its
just one of the symptoms of a sickness that
needs to be treated.
Just like some of the other symptoms. What
the hell is the big deal?
Are we really going to all of a sudden
squash the rights of anybody by saying hold
on, "its about the kids!"
Instead of pro or anti union chat, here is
a proposition, one of which there are many
out there:

parents, teachers,students, union reps,
board reps, govt, all sit down, make up
3,4,500 questions about everything and
anything in education.
Teachers respond annonymisly, action gets
taken. Anything that costs, gets split
between union and govt,(or some other
variation)and anything that doesn't cost
gets done automatically.

Anyway, I see how asking the union to
contribute a little (ideoligically)to the
system that is its lifeblood would improve
the system. Blaming the govt and boards for
ever and ever doesn't really cut it if your
actually looking for something to change.
I don't really want the government deciding
how and what the people should learn,
based on the failure rates we so quickly
give it. Thats just personal.

The point really is...nobody is asking
nobody how to improve the system. Everyone
is content. Fingers up the fudge-holes
while the studies get whatevered, and
thousands of automotaons get turned out
yearly.

It would require a level of honesty NOT
being taught in schools!!

Thats my story and i'm stickn to it.

basher to some
3/26/01

This month's letters:

  • Books for needy schools, 3/30/01, by Tammy.
  • THE VIOLENCE OF PRISONERS, 3/27/01, by Donna Garner.
  • union misrepresentation, 3/26/01, by basher to some.
  • union representation, 3/26/01, by F.W..
  • help! please help me on how to write a research paper, 3/26/01, by Diane M Pletcher.
  • seeking exceptional art students for book/film project, 3/23/01, by kimberly wang.
  • Adjunct teaching, 3/22/01, by Ortencia.
  • Young retiree wants ideas to keep busy,earn$., 3/22/01, by Marion Da silva.
  • teaching, 3/20/01, by shash.
  • want to find teacher, 3/12/01, by Judy.
  • want to find teacher, 3/12/01, by Judy.

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