Friday, March 25, 2005

Every wink and every stare is the neighbourhood's affair

Realization dawns, in the wake of yesterday's headline, that there isn't a whole lot of oversight in private school curricula: Most people probably think of private schools as posh institutions selling expensive upper-class educations far superior to the publicly funded school system. But Wednesday's suspension of two teachers at Ottawa's Abraar Islamic school after they heaped praise on a student's anti-Jewish story has many questioning the apparent absence of government oversight. [...] But Mary Ann Turnbull, director of the Turnbull private elementary school on Fischer Avenue, said the last thing the private school industry needs is expensive bureaucratic oversight. "There's a danger of jumping from what happened with these two teachers, to saying we need provincial regulations," said Mrs. Turnbull. She stressed the need for schools to be transparent, and for parents to play a greater role in their child's education. "Rather than say the province should oversee all of this, making sure those two teachers didn't do what they did, people have to be wise when they're shopping for a school -- public or private." That assumes the teachers were rogue actors, expressing neither the preferred spin of the school administration, nor fee-paying parents. Do you really want to put so much faith in the premise that the parents in question didn't know exactly what they were shopping for in a curriculum? This would be one of those instances where I'm perfectly happy to let the provincial government get its greasy hands on the wheel; the alternative is no control at all, which - as the Happy Fun Jihad Writing Assignment debacle demonstrates - is more than a bit unnerving.


Blogger The Tiger said...

Trouble is, you either have control or not, and do you really trust the bureaucracy to keep its hands clear of other issues? I don't.

Parents complained in this case, and the story hit the press. I think the system as it is worked just fine.

3/25/2005 01:59:00 PM  

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