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chair.jpg (11036 bytes) Professionally Speaking welcomes letters and articles on topics of interest to teachers. We reserve the right to edit letters for length. To be considered for publication, all letters must be signed and provide the writer’s daytime phone number. Letters should be addressed to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking, 121 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor, Toronto ON M4W 3M5; e-mail:

Keep Reporting Discipline
My wife is a teacher and I read every issue of Professionally Speaking. I am prompted to write to support your continuing publication of the findings of the Discipline Committee, including the names of the offending teachers.

Imagine my surprise when I read the first edition that included a summary of the complaint against a teacher, the result of the complaint hearing and the name of the person against whom the finding was made. You are demonstrating an accountability model for professional standards that I have not seen anywhere else. It speaks of a level of integrity that astounds me.

I do not agree with Doug Cook, whose letter you published in the December 1999 edition. Publishing the results of deliberations is not seeking to contribute to “the development of a negative stereotype for male teachers.” The Discipline Committee is reporting its findings based on the complaints it has received.

Teachers have nothing to hide as a profession. What sets you apart is your courage in publishing the findings of the Discipline Committee. Teachers act “in loco parentis” and this responsibility must never be violated!

The College of Teachers has set a standard of behaviour for teachers in Ontario that is appropriate. You are articulating the consequences of the undesirable behaviour to the members of the profession and the public at large (like me). You have implemented a leadership and accountability model that is unprecedented in my experience.

Don’t give up! Don’t back down! Stick with the positive values portrayed in the publishing of the proceedings of the Discipline Committee.

Alan Gordon
Alan Gordon is vice-president of human resources for Consumers Packaging Inc. in Toronto.

Stand Against Testing
I feel very strongly about the issue of teacher testing. As a teacher, and one who has been taking courses throughout my 20-year career, I feel highly insulted.

While my own qualifications include BPEd (Hon), BEd, MEd, Reading Specialist, FSL 1 & 2, Guidance 1, Junior Math 1, Primary Basic, Principal Qualifications Part 1 & 2, I realize that all the letters after one’s name do not make a good teacher! But is it not the job of the administrators to weed out the so-called bad teachers? (Perhaps it is the administrators who should be tested!)

I will be willing to take the test when lawyers, doctors, engineers, government employees and maybe politicians are tested. (There is a practising surgeon at my doctor’s office who received his surgical qualifications in 1956 ... hmmm.)

Thanks. I had to vent. Seriously, I hope our unions and our professional organization take an aggressive stand against this proposal.

Sandra MacDonald
Sandra MacDonald is a Grade 5/6 teacher at Baltimore Public School in Baltimore.

Teaching to the Test
In a December, 1999 Professionally Speaking article I read with concern how Brandon Gate School in the Peel District School Board raised its EQAO Grade 3 scores. No matter how the school justifies its strategy, it is clearly teaching to the tests. The “New Curriculum” at Brandon Gate is about how to interpret and answer questions on the EQAO Grade 3 tests. At least one month was intensively dedicated to these open-ended problems, which the article admits favour communicating how an answer was arrived at as opposed to getting it correct.

The method in which the school reported its scores was most uninformative. I know that Brandon Gate is not the only school which has resorted to such a method in its public reporting. Similar examples appeared in the popular press around the province.

The tests are not a competition. The EQAO results are not sports scores. I have analyzed and reported to a number of boards on their school-by-school results, and the boards and schools are a lot more alike one another than they have imagined.

Panic-driven solutions aimed at looking good on the tests do not serve the students or the system well. Serious concentration in time and effort to implement and support the full official curriculum does.

John E. Purchase
John Purchase is a recent retiree from the Muskoka Board of Education (now Trillium Lakelands DSB) in his 29th year as a public school educator.