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Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:22

Just having the conversation is what is important

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There is no shortage of areas Albertans can choose to comment on when it comes to government reports. It seems like the Province is seeking input about a lot of areas currently including transportation and now the recommendations made in a report from the task force for teaching excellence.

While it can be time-consuming and some extra work, it is important for individuals to take time to give their input when the government asks for it.
When Alberta Education Minister Jeff Johnson and task force chair Dr. Glenn Feltham released the report that included 25 recommendations focusing on helping create excellent teachers, the ATA and those in the profession immediately jumped up to say it was an “attack” on the profession.
Some said Alberta teachers already are excellent at what they do so what’s to criticize?
Nobody enjoys having their jobs put under the microscope. It isn’t pleasant to be told one could be doing more work or better work. But maybe teachers shouldn’t be so quick to go on the defensive and attack the task force, and the government for what is essentially a report.
These recommendations are just that — advice to government. At this point in time, it isn’t known what will be the final outcome. Albertans have no idea which recommendations will be accepted and if they will be in their entirety. It is the government’s prerogative to pick and choose what they see as the best options for the Alberta education system.
It is also important to remember government officials are seeking the public’s reaction and input into the report. Officials want to know what Albertans — including educators — think about the recommendations. They gave a month for people to offer up their own opinions and advice. Then they will take the summer to mull over the input and recommendations and make some decisions about how to move forward. Realistically, changes may not happen until 2015.
Alberta Education minister Jeff Johnson hit the nail on the head when he spoke to media in a teleconference on May 5.
He said, “This discussion is going to change the education system in the province ... there shouldn’t be any topics off base or that we’re not willing to discuss because we’re uncomfortable.”
He’s absolutely right.
Alberta does have excellent teachers, but if residents — and even teachers — are truly being honest with themselves can they say every single teacher (all 35,000 of them) are excellent?
Can they honestly say that there is no room for improvement?
Albertans when submitting their feedback — and teachers who have to listen to it — should keep the same goal in mind that the task force on excellence in teaching did: “For very child, in every class, there should be an excellent teacher.”
Rose Sanchez is assistant managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact her with your comments about this opinion piece by emailing her at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor