Government pretty much is incapable of correcting the serious problems of our public schools.
Only a dedicated, tough, and highly intelligent premier – an Obama type – could make anything real happen, and I sure do not see any prospect of such a politician coming to power.
The right wing tried reform and utterly failed: Mike Harris and the boys made a series of totally ineffectual changes, including that bad joke we call the literacy test, something McGuinty has kept only because it is a useful political tool manufacturing statistics that seem to show progress.
McGuinty has done nothing but literally throw money at the teachers’ union to buy peace for his government while we pay the bills. He has asked and received nothing in return, and he is too weak a character to demand anything real.
The teachers’ union is responsible for the extremely high cost of running our schools, costs which mean there are few resources for improved facilities and expanded services.
Just one tiny example of many I could cite: substitute teachers in Ontario are paid the same rates as regular teachers, a totally excessive and unnecessary cost. Further our teachers in many places are entitled to nearly a month of sick days – this on a 9-month work year – and it is a common attitude to routinely take them, leaving taxpayers paying two salaries for one poorly-taught classroom.
Even McGuinty’s weak minister has commented on the huge costs of sick days in Ontario.
The only way to improve public schools is to make teachers accountable. Accountability is a basic principle we accept in almost all our institutions except public education.
We have some wonderful, dedicated teachers, but we have a great many poor, unmotivated, even unintelligent ones, and the entire structure of administration in education, from vice-principals to superintendents, pretty well comes from these ranks.
Most have never had serious management experience, and most have no concept of accountability. That is why we have a mess.
The kindergarten/day care proposal is a sound one – the first meaningful thing McGuinty has come up with for education, but it won’t happen. The teachers’ union is already attacking it, and if it gets its way, the program will be costly and ineffectual.