Education problems

Two items on the INTERNET this morning got me going on schools and education. First, CBC news reports British Columbia teachers have voted 90 per cent in favor of strike and will likely take job action in September. The second was a defense of teachers by a Huffington Post columnist.

I can easily accept that most teachers are sincere, intelligent and exceptionally caring people. Teaching can be a highly stressful occupation although I suspect a lot of the stress comes from administration rather than students.

I have three concerns that probably put me in conflict with most teachers’ unions.

First, education should be primarily the responsibility and under the direction of parents. Thus I like the concepts of charter schools and vouchers so that parents can choose the education their children get.

Second teachers should be considered as servants rather than professionals on a par with doctors and lawyers. We go to professionals because we are in a crisis situation and we hope they have specialized knowledge which will help us out of the crisis. We hire teachers to do a job which we could do ourselves but choose not to.

The third is that education is a monopoly industry. It is an industry in which the monopoly profits go to those people who work in it and one which suffers from all the problems of a monopoly. It should be possible to introduce some competition and maintain our commitment to provide a basic education to all children .

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