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New Teaching Programs Fill a NICHE, A Need

January 19, 2014 by Tunya


While Teach For Canada (TFC) is still in it’s infancy it is definitely well-meaning. The idea of Teach For All projects is now active in 32 countries around the world. Three main principles inform this movement — 1) overcoming education inequities, 2) improving disadvantaged schools, and 3) advancing teaching excellence.

What’s to dislike about that? It should appeal to all well-meaning folks, regardless of political stripe. The TFAustralia project was officially launched in late 2008 by the then Federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard MP (Labor).

Parents, in particular, are EXTREMELY anxious to get their children educated in their lifetimes. They are not easily put-off by promises of improvements over the long-haul. Increasingly, parents and public see choice as the only strategy to bring about satisfactory education in a young person’s lifetime.

In the UK a Report by the Sutton Group unleashed scathing headlines that parents were “cheating” when they found ways to enrol their kids in their preferred schools or who used tutoring services to supplement or remediate schooling. The title of the report — “Parent Power? Using money and information to boost children’s chances of educational success”. Why shouldn’t parents do all they can to help in social mobility? Keep them off the dole (welfare)?

Again, I’m going to applaud the Australian Coalition politicians who have launched a Review of the education system to determine public opinion. They, at least, seem to care about parents.

I find the comments of the new Minister of Education, Christopher Pyne, so refreshing.

*** “Those who are critical of the review and question the sincerity of the government’s motives might be forgetting that incoming governments not only have a right to review their predecessor’s policies, they have a duty to do so, to ensure policies are still relevant, needed, cost-effective and meet voters’ expectations, as variously expressed in the most recent and decisive election.

*** “we need a national curriculum, we must ensure it genuinely meets students’ needs, matches parents’ expectations and drives education quality.

*** “This nation’s curriculum policy must not be captured by any fad, by any vested interest group, or by those pursuing political or narrow agendas.”

This is tomorrow’s news from the Minister — they are ahead of us in more ways than one!

Our politicians in Canada would be petrified to have to listen to “parents’ expectations”. Besides, the BLOB won’t let our provinces have education Reviews. They’ve got the politicians wrapped up as pretzels.

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