Educators Dodging The Judgment Of James 3:1
“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” – James 3:1, Bible NIV
In social media I have seen the occasional teacher mention that they are aware of the extra expectation of teachers — that judgment is justifiably harsher in this field than in any other. Yes, whether they mention James 3:1 or not, nonetheless, these few seem to be keenly aware of the extra responsibility as they deal with impressionable young minds.
As I observe education trends internationally I see a decided move by education systems to inch away from accountability. As we head into more of the imposed 21st Century Learning “transformations” — involving such biggies as OECD, UNESCO, Common Core, OISE, etc. — we see the replacement of hard statistics with narratives, checklists and other subjective reports. This is to accommodate the shift away from hard skills such as reading, writing, arithmetic and knowledge to soft competencies as collaboration, creativity, etc. Is this shift away from accountability measures a consequence of James 3:1?
One major way to sidestep accountability is sabotage. This has just been gloriously demonstrated in Ontario by timely organized teacher strikes that prevent some districts from doing standardized tests and certainly averting the calculation of a provincial score.
The Windsor-Essex Catholic District Bd already has a math task force set up stemming from past concerns. The local newspaper reports: “ . . . the task force will look beyond the system and the country for examples of best practices.”
Now, here is a hitch. The latest manifesto from the OECD — “Schooling Redesigned — Toward Innovative Learning Systems” — clearly states that this is “ . . . not a compendium of ‘best practices’.” And Andreas Schleicher himself, Director for Education and Skills responsible for PISA reports, an international benchmark setter for student achievement, says: “Some will call for a robust scientific evidence base . . . [but this report] avoids references to ‘proven’ or ‘best’ practices . . .”
Furthermore, in the literature plugging this report is a testimonial from TUAC — Trade Union Advisory Committee to OECD, an interface for trade unions with OECD — “Teacher unions are, can and should be at the centre of creating the conditions for innovation.”
Now, how do I feel about all this? After a half century of trying to be a good biological parent, and now grandparent, and after being told, interminably, that parents and the education system are two sides of the same coin, what can I say? Totally frustrated!
I will simply ask: Why does the flipped coin always land with the producers on top and the consumers face down? Where is the justice for parents and their children in this equation? The only hopeful sign is to work for more options so that there is some relief and escape from such totalitarianism and accountability avoidance.