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No experience necessary?

Dear editor:

Not too long ago, I awoke to find a trickle of water coming from a broken shower head in my bathroom. I immediately decided that I needed a plumber.

When the hail storm damaged my roof, I called a carpenter with the skills to solve that problem. When my car starts making strange noises, I take it to a mechanic.

In all of these cases, I do not have to worry because I hire a person who has the education and training, as well as the experience, to do the job. I expect to pay a reasonable fee and recognize that their expertise is valuable.

When I began teaching many years ago, much the same attitude prevailed for teachers. I was expected to have four years of university in order to learn about the subjects I would be teaching. I also had to have a year of teacher training. During the years I have taught, I have taken summer school courses and many workshops to improve my skills and keep-up-to-date.

All of this I found reasonable, and I believe that all of these courses and workshops have helped me do my job.

Now I find that we have a new minister of education with a much different approach. Apparently, my education and experience are of no value. He suggests that I be replaced with somebody who has none of these qualifications or experience. Perhaps he got the idea from an Alberta politician who replaced qualified nurses with unqualified people he called “patient hostesses.”

However, just as I want to hire qualified plumbers, carpenters and mechanics, I want qualified teachers in the school. If I hire somebody who is not qualified to fix my car, I may end up with a damaged car. If we bring in unqualified educators, the consequences will be far more serious.

Mr. Snobelen may be willing to risk students and the whole education system to save money and pay the tax refund. I am not. Are you?

(Oh by the way, if you happen to agree with Mr. Snobelen and think you can do my job with no training or experience, give me a call. I would be happy to give you the opportunity).

Signed,

Joyce Cunningham

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