Good school principal=successful school

Given the decision that is imminent by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) about the black-focused school in Toronto, we should all be shouting from the roof tops about what makes both a good principal and a successful school — starting and ending with total school board support in terms of the allocation of resources and ongoing appropriate levels of funding. Over and above that: 

  • A successful school has a shared vision and a clear sense of purpose and it is the principal, in conjunction with everyone connected to his or her school who develops that shared vision and clear sense of purpose.
  • A successful school also has a strong communal dimension and a good principal makes sure that happens. He or she connects daily, in the hall or elsewhere, asking how the students and staff are doing. He or she conveys an honest to goodness caring attitude of positive reinforcement.
  • A successful school also has effective leadership when it comes to security and bullying — meaning that the principal is consistent and fair in the way he or she deals with school problems and violence. Everyone knows exactly where they stand and there are no ifs, ands or buts.
  • A successful school also has quality teaching and learning (and student achievement results prove that quality). And a good principal has usually been a teacher and knows what works and what doesn’t and stays on top of things. (Revised) If, however, a principal is not responsible for teacher evaluation, they could be an individual with leadership and management experience instead.
  • A successful school is also committed to improvement for both students and staff and a good principal is behind all of these issues and supports his or her staff as necessary.

In short, a successful school is only successful because it has community and school board support, a good principal and quality teaching staff. They all go together. No one characteristic or trait is separate from the other. They should be viewed as totally inter-connected.

I have worked for successful principals as well as the reverse. When it is said a principal creates the school culture that is very true. You can “feel” it the minute you walk through the front door. Does the principal make himself or herself available or isolate themselves in their office. Is he or she easy to talk to and make parents, students and staff feel welcome and important or are they hard to talk to? Does the principal have a tough skin and can take criticism or is he or she overly touchy? Does the principal encourage staff with words and rewards or does he or she embarrass staff in front of parents or fail to support them. Teachers reading this will know exactly what I mean, as will parents who are members of parent councils.

Now, what kind of training does a principal or vice-principal get to be a visionary leader? Living in Ontario, the first place I went looking was the Ontario Principal’s Council (OPC).It is the professional organization that represents principals employed in the publicly funded education system. They provide certificate programs as do Faculties of Education (referred to as AQ courses — or Additional Qualification courses).

I went through every single link on the OPC website but could not find out what made a good principal. I found links to conferences, certificate programs and mentoring programs, and what research is being done. But, nothing more. Yet, you would think the first link they would have would be some of the characteristics that makes a good one.

Now, as a retired teacher and academic I know only too well that leadership style is just as complicated to evaluate as a teacher’s instructional style. Yet, we should have some benchmarks, should we not? How else is a parent going to know what to look for? How else is a teacher, who might be applying for a transfer to a particular school going to know whether they will be compatible with a particular principal?

In terms of expectations, there is of course the Ontario College of Teachers code of ethics for those in the profession and I did find a couple of excellent links in the U.S.  The first is entitled “What makes a good high school” and the second “What Makes A Successful Urban School Leader” by Fran Silverman. She writes:

“The key to good leadership is consistency — in authority and in instruction….But this is a factor that principals can’t always control. Too often, school boards overrule building leaders and superintendents. District leaders who may be making changes to schools often have to stop when new boards change policies. If principals are to be effective, then school governance needs to stabilize.”

In other words, as I suggested in my first paragraph here, principals need to be able to count on follow-through from board senior staff, be it moral or financial support.

The crux of the matter is therefore, as Silverman suggests, that a good school principal creates a particular culture in a school and it is “the culture [that] defines the identity of the school, its primary mission and overall vision.”

Assuming the TDSB votes in favour of the black-focused school programs and stand-alone school this evening,  one hopes that they do what is necessary to make sure those programs succeed. One also hopes they do what ever is necessary to make sure the stand-alone school succeeds as well by having top notch proven school leaders as its teachers and principal.

 

32 thoughts on “Good school principal=successful school

  1. A very good analysis Sandy, thanks.

    Just musing here ..but it would seem the Principal is like the CEO of a company who also ahs various stakeholders to keep happy … the shareholder/voter …consumer/parent-student … the Board of Directors/trustees-politicos

    One big difference is that companies these days run on a meritocracy not tenure. Also most companies in a knowledge based economy are no longer unionized .. .those that are unionized, are dying .. GM, Ford.

    Also a CEO rates the legal the professionals, the accounting professionals, the engineers etc … yet the CEO may not be a professional in any of these disciplines. A CEO’s primary strengths that separate them from the wolf pack .. a large IQ, competitive, stamina, self-discipline, determination, courage, goal orientation, high-achiever. I would think these alpha traits are required by a good Principal to handle their stakeholders from which there is always a lot of dissent … dissent is normal and it is healthy, if it is managed by strong leadership.

    If you think about it this way … I’m beginning to see why Mike Harris thought there was a big gap in the way schools operate and the way they should operate. Wasn’t Mike a teacher once?

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  2. A very good analysis Sandy, thanks.

    Just musing here ..but it would seem the Principal is like the CEO of a company who also ahs various stakeholders to keep happy … the shareholder/voter …consumer/parent-student … the Board of Directors/trustees-politicos

    One big difference is that companies these days run on a meritocracy not tenure. Also most companies in a knowledge based economy are no longer unionized .. .those that are unionized, are dying .. GM, Ford.

    Also a CEO rates the legal the professionals, the accounting professionals, the engineers etc … yet the CEO may not be a professional in any of these disciplines. A CEO’s primary strengths that separate them from the wolf pack .. a large IQ, competitive, stamina, self-discipline, determination, courage, goal orientation, high-achiever. I would think these alpha traits are required by a good Principal to handle their stakeholders from which there is always a lot of dissent … dissent is normal and it is healthy, if it is managed by strong leadership.

    If you think about it this way … I’m beginning to see why Mike Harris thought there was a big gap in the way schools operate and the way they should operate. Wasn’t Mike a teacher once?

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  3. Nomdeblog — Yes, Mike Harris was a high school teacher. As I said to Ann, the only problem with the CEO approach is if one of the expectations is teacher evaluation. No one who has not studied teaching and learning can do that. So, assuming a board superintendent or a Vice-Principal takes on that role, then being a proven CEO would work.

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  4. Nomdeblog — Yes, Mike Harris was a high school teacher. As I said to Ann, the only problem with the CEO approach is if one of the expectations is teacher evaluation. No one who has not studied teaching and learning can do that. So, assuming a board superintendent or a Vice-Principal takes on that role, then being a proven CEO would work.

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  5. Sandy, I shall defer to you on the evaluations.

    However, CEO’s manage a lot of professional disciplines and they are able to do the evaluations because they are based on results. Results versus goals are set at the beginning of the year, negotiated between the discipline and the boss. It is in their mutual interest that the goals be realistic.

    I have trouble with the notion that a results oriented school can’t be measured and evaluated with a non-teacher, but I trust you on that one …I wouldn’t most .. :>)

    Anyway, as you say, it would be academic (no pun) if the Vice is a teacher.

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  6. Sandy, I shall defer to you on the evaluations.

    However, CEO’s manage a lot of professional disciplines and they are able to do the evaluations because they are based on results. Results versus goals are set at the beginning of the year, negotiated between the discipline and the boss. It is in their mutual interest that the goals be realistic.

    I have trouble with the notion that a results oriented school can’t be measured and evaluated with a non-teacher, but I trust you on that one …I wouldn’t most .. :>)

    Anyway, as you say, it would be academic (no pun) if the Vice is a teacher.

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  7. Nomdeblog — I once taught a graduate education course just on teacher evaluation and I did my PH.D thesis on the topic. To say it is complicated is an understatement. But, the gist of the problem is that there are three paradigms in education and each teacher instructs according to one or more of those paradigms. And, paradigms are world views, personal philosophies about teaching and learning.

    It would be similar to leadership paradigms, a top down approach, a collegial approach or a facilitator approach, and so on. In fact, deciding good teaching would be just as complex as deciding good leadership. We usually only know when we get the results. And, different people use different methods to get those results.

    In teaching the three paradigms are the traditional, the transaction, or the transformative. And, each is valid. (1) The traditional teacher feels more comfortable with strict discipline, desks in rows, lecturing and so on. A traditional teacher prefers tests and standardized methods. (2) A transactional teacher invites discussion, is very involved in group work and a multi-disciplinary approach. Transactional teaching tends to be interactive and democratic and student evaluation involves a variety of methods such as projects, essays and group work. (3) Transformational methods are eclectic and involve the best of both of the other paradigms. In addition, when using transformational methods, creative approaches are also used such as creative drama, journal writing and so on.

    That is just the tip of the iceberg. So, a principal has to decide which methods the teacher is using before he or she can evaluate them — depending on their own world view. So, if you have a top down manager, he or she might prefer traditional methods or vice versa.

    Can of worms? Yes! Moreover, as much as everyone would like one, there is no test in the world that can cover all these possibilities in a teacher qualification or re-qualification test.

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  8. Nomdeblog — I once taught a graduate education course just on teacher evaluation and I did my PH.D thesis on the topic. To say it is complicated is an understatement. But, the gist of the problem is that there are three paradigms in education and each teacher instructs according to one or more of those paradigms. And, paradigms are world views, personal philosophies about teaching and learning.

    It would be similar to leadership paradigms, a top down approach, a collegial approach or a facilitator approach, and so on. In fact, deciding good teaching would be just as complex as deciding good leadership. We usually only know when we get the results. And, different people use different methods to get those results.

    In teaching the three paradigms are the traditional, the transaction, or the transformative. And, each is valid. (1) The traditional teacher feels more comfortable with strict discipline, desks in rows, lecturing and so on. A traditional teacher prefers tests and standardized methods. (2) A transactional teacher invites discussion, is very involved in group work and a multi-disciplinary approach. Transactional teaching tends to be interactive and democratic and student evaluation involves a variety of methods such as projects, essays and group work. (3) Transformational methods are eclectic and involve the best of both of the other paradigms. In addition, when using transformational methods, creative approaches are also used such as creative drama, journal writing and so on.

    That is just the tip of the iceberg. So, a principal has to decide which methods the teacher is using before he or she can evaluate them — depending on their own world view. So, if you have a top down manager, he or she might prefer traditional methods or vice versa.

    Can of worms? Yes! Moreover, as much as everyone would like one, there is no test in the world that can cover all these possibilities in a teacher qualification or re-qualification test.

    Like

  9. Wow, a lot to chew on there Sandy thanks.

    Meanwhile a couple of thoughts on the issue of there being a lack of standards. Do you think the International Baccalaureate as a standard for the students make sense? Apparently the University recruitment teams do because they seem to favour an IB mark of X over a non-standard mark of X.

    If you were to agree that an IB makes sense for the students; then shouldn’t Ontario, one of the richest locals on the planet, be pushing to have this as a valuable standard for our students and thus this standard for our teachers too?

    Wouldn’t that in turn attract businesses to set up shop here and the whole thing snowball in a very positive economic and standard of living way?

    The other thought on the 3 paradigms.. I would think a CEO approach would call for diversity of thought on that issue. I think I’d want all 3 and I’d want to compare them and maybe try to stream (liberals hate that word) the students into the paradigm with the highest probability of a fit to their particular learning abilities (which need to be assessed). Now would that contradict the IB standard or compliment it? I can see where this gets complicated and as a neophyte, admittedly I’m already way out of league on this.

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  10. Wow, a lot to chew on there Sandy thanks.

    Meanwhile a couple of thoughts on the issue of there being a lack of standards. Do you think the International Baccalaureate as a standard for the students make sense? Apparently the University recruitment teams do because they seem to favour an IB mark of X over a non-standard mark of X.

    If you were to agree that an IB makes sense for the students; then shouldn’t Ontario, one of the richest locals on the planet, be pushing to have this as a valuable standard for our students and thus this standard for our teachers too?

    Wouldn’t that in turn attract businesses to set up shop here and the whole thing snowball in a very positive economic and standard of living way?

    The other thought on the 3 paradigms.. I would think a CEO approach would call for diversity of thought on that issue. I think I’d want all 3 and I’d want to compare them and maybe try to stream (liberals hate that word) the students into the paradigm with the highest probability of a fit to their particular learning abilities (which need to be assessed). Now would that contradict the IB standard or compliment it? I can see where this gets complicated and as a neophyte, admittedly I’m already way out of league on this.

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  11. Nomdeblog — I have no idea what the IB standard of X means. You got me there. I have been retired since 2000 and maybe it is showing. LOL

    Re the paradigms – very few people reflect one personal ideology/philosophy over another. Most nowadays are eclectic in approach — a bit of this and a bit of that.

    When I went to elementary school way back when, everyone was traditional. Funny though that standardized testing is on the comeback. Most parents have had enough of “authentic” evaluation methods — journal writing, etc. and are at least using competency -based testing.

    Re teacher evaluation. Maybe a CEO who wasn’t a teacher wouldn’t be a bad thing. He or she could watch to see if learning was going on — students involved and working. And, then, look at the student’s achievement levels. Not so hard afterall.

    I used to teach an undergrad course called “Curriculum theory and design.” During the first week the students would wonder what we could do that would take a full credit and a full year of three hours a week. They thought the word curriculum simply meant a syllabus. Ha Not a chance. Once we got into the paradigms, all that wonder fell away. LOL Because, basically, even curriculum units can be designed and taught in three or more different ways.

    Remember too that none of these students had ever actually taught so it was tough for them. I would meet them years later and they would say “I understand now. Thanks.”

    One of these days I will write something about PPK. It stands for “personal practical knowledge” and it is what is the difference between a novice teacher and an experienced one. I imagine it is like that in any professional field. It is when you walk into an unknown situation and look around and listen and then know intuitively what to do. Some would say you are “winging it.” But, you have to know how to wing it based on experience. Most experienced teachers have a lot of PPK and that is hard to evaluate. But results count and that may be the ticket.

    Lastly, there is the issue of “presence.” Some would call it charisma. You have it or you don’t. I don’t know how it works but I could walk into a classroom, even at the university level, and look up at a hundred faces and they would all stop talking. I used to marvel at it and wonder what I would do if they all walked out. They never did! And, when I did supervision for prospective teachers (during their teaching blocks) and I would sit at the back of the room, I would know if the teaching student had that certain something or not. If they didn’t, the children would all be talking and no one would be listening. It was a difficult technique to explain but I used to try to tell teachers-in-training how to have presence — stand tall and still and look securely in charge. Bottom line it’s a certain something that is very hard to define. But, a CEO would recognize it when he or she saw it. That much I do know.

    Anyway, I am glad I just have to keep track of this blog. I wouldn’t want to be in the system right now beyond the occasional consulting I still do.

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  12. Nomdeblog — I have no idea what the IB standard of X means. You got me there. I have been retired since 2000 and maybe it is showing. LOL

    Re the paradigms – very few people reflect one personal ideology/philosophy over another. Most nowadays are eclectic in approach — a bit of this and a bit of that.

    When I went to elementary school way back when, everyone was traditional. Funny though that standardized testing is on the comeback. Most parents have had enough of “authentic” evaluation methods — journal writing, etc. and are at least using competency -based testing.

    Re teacher evaluation. Maybe a CEO who wasn’t a teacher wouldn’t be a bad thing. He or she could watch to see if learning was going on — students involved and working. And, then, look at the student’s achievement levels. Not so hard afterall.

    I used to teach an undergrad course called “Curriculum theory and design.” During the first week the students would wonder what we could do that would take a full credit and a full year of three hours a week. They thought the word curriculum simply meant a syllabus. Ha Not a chance. Once we got into the paradigms, all that wonder fell away. LOL Because, basically, even curriculum units can be designed and taught in three or more different ways.

    Remember too that none of these students had ever actually taught so it was tough for them. I would meet them years later and they would say “I understand now. Thanks.”

    One of these days I will write something about PPK. It stands for “personal practical knowledge” and it is what is the difference between a novice teacher and an experienced one. I imagine it is like that in any professional field. It is when you walk into an unknown situation and look around and listen and then know intuitively what to do. Some would say you are “winging it.” But, you have to know how to wing it based on experience. Most experienced teachers have a lot of PPK and that is hard to evaluate. But results count and that may be the ticket.

    Lastly, there is the issue of “presence.” Some would call it charisma. You have it or you don’t. I don’t know how it works but I could walk into a classroom, even at the university level, and look up at a hundred faces and they would all stop talking. I used to marvel at it and wonder what I would do if they all walked out. They never did! And, when I did supervision for prospective teachers (during their teaching blocks) and I would sit at the back of the room, I would know if the teaching student had that certain something or not. If they didn’t, the children would all be talking and no one would be listening. It was a difficult technique to explain but I used to try to tell teachers-in-training how to have presence — stand tall and still and look securely in charge. Bottom line it’s a certain something that is very hard to define. But, a CEO would recognize it when he or she saw it. That much I do know.

    Anyway, I am glad I just have to keep track of this blog. I wouldn’t want to be in the system right now beyond the occasional consulting I still do.

    Like

  13. Re IB standard of X , sorry that wasn’t very clear.

    Assume a University is filling up and can only let one more student in; then if a grade 12 IB student gets 75 and a regular student gets 75, the recruiters say they will take the IB student because they add several marks to the IB 75 because they know it is an agreed upon International standard that can be relied upon. The IB standard is particularly useful if students are applying to university out of country.

    “Good teachers should be rewarded, and good parents should be rewarded with educated children.”
    Right, and I’d add that just like in the business world, those that don’t measure up should be on remediation programs and/or fired … but the unions won’t let that happen .. the weak just get shuffled to another school …I’ve seen it happen a lot.

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  14. Re IB standard of X , sorry that wasn’t very clear.

    Assume a University is filling up and can only let one more student in; then if a grade 12 IB student gets 75 and a regular student gets 75, the recruiters say they will take the IB student because they add several marks to the IB 75 because they know it is an agreed upon International standard that can be relied upon. The IB standard is particularly useful if students are applying to university out of country.

    “Good teachers should be rewarded, and good parents should be rewarded with educated children.”
    Right, and I’d add that just like in the business world, those that don’t measure up should be on remediation programs and/or fired … but the unions won’t let that happen .. the weak just get shuffled to another school …I’ve seen it happen a lot.

    Like

  15. One of these days I will try to write something about teacher evaluation in such a way that everyone can jump in. Maybe do a tentative job description and see where things go.

    If anyone’s eyes glass over with my explanations,that is part of the problem isn’t it? The subject of teacher evaluation or teacher testing IS complex — quite apart from the role of the teachers’ unions who don’t want duties listed by anyone but them.

    I had nursing educators in some of the grad courses I taught and even they gradually understood how the teaching act is very different from the nursing act. Teaching is like no other act. It involves two or more people and learning. Teachers do not simply provide a service or do something that helps someone else. Nursing educators must do both — be both a nurse and a teacher — and they truly understand the difference.

    Hopefully, however, while we cannot all agree on everything, I can provide a place here where we can disagree.

    (Note: Comment revised.)

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  16. One of these days I will try to write something about teacher evaluation in such a way that everyone can jump in. Maybe do a tentative job description and see where things go.

    If anyone’s eyes glass over with my explanations,that is part of the problem isn’t it? The subject of teacher evaluation or teacher testing IS complex — quite apart from the role of the teachers’ unions who don’t want duties listed by anyone but them.

    I had nursing educators in some of the grad courses I taught and even they gradually understood how the teaching act is very different from the nursing act. Teaching is like no other act. It involves two or more people and learning. Teachers do not simply provide a service or do something that helps someone else. Nursing educators must do both — be both a nurse and a teacher — and they truly understand the difference.

    Hopefully, however, while we cannot all agree on everything, I can provide a place here where we can disagree.

    (Note: Comment revised.)

    Like

  17. Nomdeblog — I really don’t believe we are wasting our time talking about change or I would give up this blog in a minute. Change in any field, particularly education, is painfully slow but it does happen. We have to start now for the next provincial election in Ontario. As I said in a post at JN — the first step of that change is that John Tory resign. We need a Tim Hudak or a Bob Runciman.

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  18. Nomdeblog — I really don’t believe we are wasting our time talking about change or I would give up this blog in a minute. Change in any field, particularly education, is painfully slow but it does happen. We have to start now for the next provincial election in Ontario. As I said in a post at JN — the first step of that change is that John Tory resign. We need a Tim Hudak or a Bob Runciman.

    Like

  19. Sandy, good for you, you are right to fight your battle passionately and bring your years of experience to it. My earlier comment was made in frustration when someone expressed the lack of interest by the complacent public who expect someone to do it for them.

    The short answer is that we need more choice because there is no perfect solution, only trial and error based on a constant referendum of choices. The long answer is:

    IMO, education is political and seems complicated because like Health Care it is a government near-monopoly …we don’t have very much choice …yet.

    Therefore education seems complicated because in a monopoly environment first the correct system needs to be imagined and planned. Then we have to set up resources to fit into that system … but like communism, that doesn’t work; especially in a knowledge era where information and technology are changing rapidly.

    It’s not just education and health that are complicated; many other fields of endeavor are complicated too, e.g. building houses, cars, banking and financial products, oil refineries etc. But because there is lots of competition in these areas, the free markets are always adapting to the best practices in the marketplace … so through a constant process of trail and error we keep improving the products … there is no plan , there is only creative destruction, a constant , consumer referendum on new products that leads to improvement.

    But when the government monopoly dominates with a plan as to how it supposed to work and then brings in unionized workers to fit that plan .. .we find ourselves gridlocked and frozen in time, reluctant to change.

    The solution is to have lots of choice in education and health. Nobody is smart enough to plan the perfect system .. these disciplines need to be set free and evolve with trial and error, school vouchers for choice, let the consumer decide, that’s the way everything else in our lives adapts to change. But there is no perfect solution, only constant improvement based on choices.

    We need a Premier willing to take on the unions. Confrontation is unavoidable to bring change. Until the voter is ready for that , we’ll get milquetoast Premiers at best. Meanwhile everyone that can afford it will put their kids in private schools and sign up for the growing list of private health clinics. Health and education are too important to be left to central planning bureaucrats.

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  20. Sandy, good for you, you are right to fight your battle passionately and bring your years of experience to it. My earlier comment was made in frustration when someone expressed the lack of interest by the complacent public who expect someone to do it for them.

    The short answer is that we need more choice because there is no perfect solution, only trial and error based on a constant referendum of choices. The long answer is:

    IMO, education is political and seems complicated because like Health Care it is a government near-monopoly …we don’t have very much choice …yet.

    Therefore education seems complicated because in a monopoly environment first the correct system needs to be imagined and planned. Then we have to set up resources to fit into that system … but like communism, that doesn’t work; especially in a knowledge era where information and technology are changing rapidly.

    It’s not just education and health that are complicated; many other fields of endeavor are complicated too, e.g. building houses, cars, banking and financial products, oil refineries etc. But because there is lots of competition in these areas, the free markets are always adapting to the best practices in the marketplace … so through a constant process of trail and error we keep improving the products … there is no plan , there is only creative destruction, a constant , consumer referendum on new products that leads to improvement.

    But when the government monopoly dominates with a plan as to how it supposed to work and then brings in unionized workers to fit that plan .. .we find ourselves gridlocked and frozen in time, reluctant to change.

    The solution is to have lots of choice in education and health. Nobody is smart enough to plan the perfect system .. these disciplines need to be set free and evolve with trial and error, school vouchers for choice, let the consumer decide, that’s the way everything else in our lives adapts to change. But there is no perfect solution, only constant improvement based on choices.

    We need a Premier willing to take on the unions. Confrontation is unavoidable to bring change. Until the voter is ready for that , we’ll get milquetoast Premiers at best. Meanwhile everyone that can afford it will put their kids in private schools and sign up for the growing list of private health clinics. Health and education are too important to be left to central planning bureaucrats.

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  21. You know guys, I wasn’t trying to defend my position exactly. I know only too well there are major problems in the systems (Catholic and public although mostly in the public).

    And, the system and teachers SHOULD be accountable. Moreover, the unions have too much power.

    I guess I am just as frustrated as everyone else. After the decision on the black’s-only school I am just suddenly feeling VERY tired. It is really hard to fight for a position while knowing how dogmatic everyone in the system is.

    I hate the “holier than thou” attitude parents get when they visit their children’s teachers, that only we (the educators) know best. But, simultaneously I also hate when the public thinks they know best and judge all teachers by the few militant ones.

    When I worked for the Harris MPP, it was very interesting. He and I used to get into some very loud “discussions” on these topics, especially since he was the Parliamentary Assist to Snobelen and later Dave Johnson. First, he would give his and the government’s position on a topic — often teacher testing. Then, I would play devils advocate and give the principal’s and teacher’s side. He would then think about both sides and at least he knew what the issues were and he always did well in community discussions as a result. No surprises!

    Anyway, getting another Harris government is not the solution either because we know what happened then. Screaming and yelling and protesting. Which is precisely why people are convinced Harris did horrible things because all the general public heard was the noise.

    Thanks so much Nomdeblog. Great discussion.

    I am trying not to think about the end of voting for the Canadian Blog Awards tonight. Then, after I get the news tomorrow — about who won the Education Award — it will be time to take a couple of days off. 🙂

    Like

  22. You know guys, I wasn’t trying to defend my position exactly. I know only too well there are major problems in the systems (Catholic and public although mostly in the public).

    And, the system and teachers SHOULD be accountable. Moreover, the unions have too much power.

    I guess I am just as frustrated as everyone else. After the decision on the black’s-only school I am just suddenly feeling VERY tired. It is really hard to fight for a position while knowing how dogmatic everyone in the system is.

    I hate the “holier than thou” attitude parents get when they visit their children’s teachers, that only we (the educators) know best. But, simultaneously I also hate when the public thinks they know best and judge all teachers by the few militant ones.

    When I worked for the Harris MPP, it was very interesting. He and I used to get into some very loud “discussions” on these topics, especially since he was the Parliamentary Assist to Snobelen and later Dave Johnson. First, he would give his and the government’s position on a topic — often teacher testing. Then, I would play devils advocate and give the principal’s and teacher’s side. He would then think about both sides and at least he knew what the issues were and he always did well in community discussions as a result. No surprises!

    Anyway, getting another Harris government is not the solution either because we know what happened then. Screaming and yelling and protesting. Which is precisely why people are convinced Harris did horrible things because all the general public heard was the noise.

    Thanks so much Nomdeblog. Great discussion.

    I am trying not to think about the end of voting for the Canadian Blog Awards tonight. Then, after I get the news tomorrow — about who won the Education Award — it will be time to take a couple of days off. 🙂

    Like

  23. Sandy “I also hate when the public thinks they know best and judge all teachers by the few militant ones.”

    You sound like one of my Muslim friends. Marginalizing the extremists is where we are in 2008.

    This was a great discussion, thanks and I just got my vote in for you..good luck … I hope you “marginalize” the others… :>)

    Like

  24. Sandy “I also hate when the public thinks they know best and judge all teachers by the few militant ones.”

    You sound like one of my Muslim friends. Marginalizing the extremists is where we are in 2008.

    This was a great discussion, thanks and I just got my vote in for you..good luck … I hope you “marginalize” the others… :>)

    Like

  25. Teaching is a noble profession in the world. But I think the hiring system of this noble profession is not noble. When an applicant has all skills and qualifications to get a job and she/ he did very well in job interview, but finally he/she would not get the job due to reference check. Although he/she has all qualities and potentialities even criminal checking backgroud is good, but finally he/she is not being selected only for reference checking. It’s a sever problem for new immigrants.

    So it is my suggestion to make an amendment into the teacher hiring system to maintain the equity and fairness for new immigrants. Otherwise we are becoming more and more frustrated and we never come out from this vicious circle althrough we are highly educated and well experienced. After all we are very much committed and dedicated to work with the children in a school system.

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  26. Teaching is a noble profession in the world. But I think the hiring system of this noble profession is not noble. When an applicant has all skills and qualifications to get a job and she/ he did very well in job interview, but finally he/she would not get the job due to reference check. Although he/she has all qualities and potentialities even criminal checking backgroud is good, but finally he/she is not being selected only for reference checking. It’s a sever problem for new immigrants.

    So it is my suggestion to make an amendment into the teacher hiring system to maintain the equity and fairness for new immigrants. Otherwise we are becoming more and more frustrated and we never come out from this vicious circle althrough we are highly educated and well experienced. After all we are very much committed and dedicated to work with the children in a school system.

    Like

  27. N. Akter — The background check is essential in the hiring of anybody for any job — whether it is for a corporation or in the teaching profession.

    To suggest those checks be eliminated is appalling. You are dealing with children and all checks must be done. And, they are done for everyone, no matter whether they are immigrants or not. That is equity and fairness.

    But, the bottom line is that I know lots of principals who are immigrants — but they, like all other applicants — have had to work their way through the “system.”

    So, like all leadership jobs, it is a political appointment. It is assumed that all candidates for a principals job have the same skills and qualifications. Then, it is up to the candidates to get to know the people who would be interviewing them.

    That is how our system of hiring works, no matter where the hiring is being done. The teaching profession is no different than any other.

    But remember, anyone who works with children has as many background checks as is necessary — not just immigrants. That makes it equitable and fair.

    However, there is another issue as well. When you have people getting their education and teacher training in the province or state where they live, meeting all the criteria — and then there is a job shortage — who do you hire? Since the taxpayers also contributed to that training because, for instance, post-secondary education is subsidized and partly funded by the taxpayer, why would the few jobs that are available go to people who were trained in another country? People with foreign qualifications have to take jobs where they can and get experience in that way.

    It would be no different for a Canadian who went to a foreign country to live and work. The governments in that foreign country would have to first favour those who received the training in that country.

    That’s reality. Emigrating always means starting over. It also means having background checks to make sure the teacher training you got equals that in Ontario. If they are not equal, make up courses could be taken. One can take a Master of Education degree, for example.

    I know personally of a former student of mine who did that. He was originally from Trinidad. The last I heard he was a principal in a GTA school. I know personally of someone from France who is now the principal of a French immersion school. So, it can be done.

    Good luck!

    Like

  28. N. Akter — The background check is essential in the hiring of anybody for any job — whether it is for a corporation or in the teaching profession.

    To suggest those checks be eliminated is appalling. You are dealing with children and all checks must be done. And, they are done for everyone, no matter whether they are immigrants or not. That is equity and fairness.

    But, the bottom line is that I know lots of principals who are immigrants — but they, like all other applicants — have had to work their way through the “system.”

    So, like all leadership jobs, it is a political appointment. It is assumed that all candidates for a principals job have the same skills and qualifications. Then, it is up to the candidates to get to know the people who would be interviewing them.

    That is how our system of hiring works, no matter where the hiring is being done. The teaching profession is no different than any other.

    But remember, anyone who works with children has as many background checks as is necessary — not just immigrants. That makes it equitable and fair.

    However, there is another issue as well. When you have people getting their education and teacher training in the province or state where they live, meeting all the criteria — and then there is a job shortage — who do you hire? Since the taxpayers also contributed to that training because, for instance, post-secondary education is subsidized and partly funded by the taxpayer, why would the few jobs that are available go to people who were trained in another country? People with foreign qualifications have to take jobs where they can and get experience in that way.

    It would be no different for a Canadian who went to a foreign country to live and work. The governments in that foreign country would have to first favour those who received the training in that country.

    That’s reality. Emigrating always means starting over. It also means having background checks to make sure the teacher training you got equals that in Ontario. If they are not equal, make up courses could be taken. One can take a Master of Education degree, for example.

    I know personally of a former student of mine who did that. He was originally from Trinidad. The last I heard he was a principal in a GTA school. I know personally of someone from France who is now the principal of a French immersion school. So, it can be done.

    Good luck!

    Like

  29. It’s very essential to check background prioer to get into job. I always appretiate the background checking for any job.

    Those who did their B.Ed outside of Canada, when they apply in OCT each and every document is checked very carefully to issue the Teaching Certificate. That’s good.
    When a Candidate, he/ she may be immigrant or not it doesn’t matter, has the all qualifications and his/ her interview is done very well as well as references are checked, finally he/ she got a letter from the Board it stated based on your reference we are unable to hire you at this time. Now how you are feeling! In this point I think the qualification, skillness, interview, commitment & dedication to the profession and experince all these are defeated to the comment of the Referee.Do you know how frustrated and humiliated it is!

    If you think reference is the most essential and important criteria than any other criteria such as education, intervew, experience, skillness, commitment, and dedication, why you are not checking the referee first of all?

    Canada is a country of immigrants. So it should not be a criteria to get a job who came firsrt in canada and who are immigrant or not.
    Thanks.

    Like

  30. It’s very essential to check background prioer to get into job. I always appretiate the background checking for any job.

    Those who did their B.Ed outside of Canada, when they apply in OCT each and every document is checked very carefully to issue the Teaching Certificate. That’s good.
    When a Candidate, he/ she may be immigrant or not it doesn’t matter, has the all qualifications and his/ her interview is done very well as well as references are checked, finally he/ she got a letter from the Board it stated based on your reference we are unable to hire you at this time. Now how you are feeling! In this point I think the qualification, skillness, interview, commitment & dedication to the profession and experince all these are defeated to the comment of the Referee.Do you know how frustrated and humiliated it is!

    If you think reference is the most essential and important criteria than any other criteria such as education, intervew, experience, skillness, commitment, and dedication, why you are not checking the referee first of all?

    Canada is a country of immigrants. So it should not be a criteria to get a job who came firsrt in canada and who are immigrant or not.
    Thanks.

    Like

  31. N. Akter — (Or is that “an actor”)?

    All criteria are important including references. It is assumed that everyone who has a B.Ed from a Canadian university has similar skills and knowledge. As far as I know, they are not called B.Ed’s from the U.S. or Australia. And, it is a complicated process to get an Ontario Teacher’s Certificate with foreign credentials, if at all.

    If you have to ask why a reference is important, there is not much I can say. But, be assured your immigrant status is irrelevant — unless you are having trouble writing English. Otherwise, this is a pretty silly conversation, isn’t it?

    FYI — comments are turned off after three weeks.

    Like

  32. N. Akter — (Or is that “an actor”)?

    All criteria are important including references. It is assumed that everyone who has a B.Ed from a Canadian university has similar skills and knowledge. As far as I know, they are not called B.Ed’s from the U.S. or Australia. And, it is a complicated process to get an Ontario Teacher’s Certificate with foreign credentials, if at all.

    If you have to ask why a reference is important, there is not much I can say. But, be assured your immigrant status is irrelevant — unless you are having trouble writing English. Otherwise, this is a pretty silly conversation, isn’t it?

    FYI — comments are turned off after three weeks.

    Like

Comments are closed.