Bill 160, the misnamed Education Quality Improvement Act, has now passed second reading in the Legislature. This omnibus education bill will gut existing laws that require certified teachers to deliver ministry-outlined programs in our schools.
Bill 160 will let the current and future minister of education decide by regulation who should do what in our schools.
Bill 160 will allow the minister of education to change his or her mind on a whim. The bill prescribes no limits on how the government can change the qualifications required to work in our schools. The cabinet could decide, without legislative and public consultation, that no teaching credentials are necessary.
That is exactly what happened in some American states under the guise of education reform.
The importance of accredited teacher training must be recognized in our schools and in the laws that govern them. Acquiring knowledge about child development, learning styles, classroom management and evaluation are of paramount significance in certified teacher programs. Understanding children and how they learn are just as important as understanding the subject matter.
Legislative safeguards, not regulations, are needed to assure that only certified and qualified personnel deliver programs in our public schools.
This provision of Bill 160 does not make sense. This government has set more stringent academic expectations for students yet wants to attain these higher standards by lowering the standards expected of the people delivering the programs.
Bill 160 has the potential of facilitating irreparable damage to our public education system, and should be scrapped.