Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zero to Hero

Nation, by now most of you are no doubt aware of the story of Edmonton high school teacher Lynden Dorval, who was fired for violating the "no zeroes" policy set forth by his school's principal. The firing was upheld by the Edmonton Public School Board in a decision last month, quoting a history of insubordinate behaviour.

Dorval - whose cause was, at one point, touted by well-intentioned but unintentionally ironic t-shirts, had his case trotted out again this week during debate about Alberta's Bill 3: the Education Act.

The Wildrose Opposition, which would oppose sunshine if Redford came out in favour of it, argued that an amendment ought to be adopted which would entrench, in provincial law, the rights of teachers to give students a grade of "zero" for work that was not completed or turned in.

And you know what? Teachers SHOULD give zeroes for work that isn't turned in. *I* got the big goose-egg a few times. There's nothing to mark - therefore, the merit of the work the teacher is marking is completely lacking. There IS no merit, because there's no work to mark. Zero.

I agree that teachers should be able to give zeroes. I think MOST Albertans agree that teachers should be able to give zeroes.

And you know who is responsible for making sure that teachers can give zeroes, without fear of getting fired by their principal?

School boards.

Remember them? The people who run the schools? The people you elect every 3 (soon to be 4) years? The folks to whom the principals answer, on behalf of the parents, students and voters of your area?

We have to let these people do their jobs. If the people want teachers to be able to give zeroes, they should elect School Board Trustees who support that position.

We spend GOBS of cash electing these people to run our school systems. In most cases, they're pretty well paid, too. Shouldn't we let them DO it?

You know... the "local decision making" we heard so much about from Wildrose in the election 6 months ago.


Government legislating on this issue would be like government legislating, through an amendment to the Highways Act, that your pizza has to arrive in 30 minutes or it's free.

Not getting the service you want from your elected school board? Don't like the policies the board is endorsing, allowing, and putting forth under their watch?

Fire them, and elect new ones.

1 comment:

Grant Neufeld said...

As you are well aware, you and I don't exactly come from the same political perspectives on many things.

However, in this case, I am in 100% accord with you. Keep decisions as local as possible for the communities affected, as long as human rights and Charter rights are respected.