Sure, it’s easy. Local governments always got along quite well with teachers. Here’s some strategies local governments used for years that provincial governments might consider employing.
- Embrace the idea that teachers are professionals, with special and valuable training and skills. Tell teachers and the public this regulary. Preface each discussion and speech about education with this information.
- Publicly express support for public education. Indicate that public education plays a valuable role in the intellectual and cultural development of our children and is one of the most successful initiatives undertaken by western societies.
- Say that public education is not an expense but an investment, the best investment we can make in our country’s future.
- Sugggest that teachers know how to plan, assess, and provide effective learning opportunites and that defending teacher’s professional autonomy is the best thing we can do to improve education. Cite B.C.’s international reputation for education excellence to substantiate this idea.
- Say that teacher accountability is best when it’s local – accountability to students, parents, colleagues, and Principals – the best judges of effective student learning. Suggest that we should seek to strengthen local accountability, not centralized measurements.
Perhaps throw in a quote to illustrate the point:
“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count: everything
that counts cannot necessarily be counted…”
There are other non-monetary strategies available to government to improve relations with teachers:
- suggest that educators are best equipped to make education decisions, not people from unrelated fields;
- suggest that parent involvement in schooling should be predominantly at the local level not at the political level.
None of these strategies costs any money, but provincial governments have not chosen to try them since 1994, when provincial bargaining was first mandated.
I’m sure provincial governments would be pleasantly surprised at how easy B.C.’s teachers are to get along with if they tried some or all of the above strategies.