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.
Dont give up! Dont back down! Stick with the positive values portrayed in
the publishing of the proceedings of the Discipline Committee.
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 ones 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
doctors 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 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.