[EDITORIALS]Another education ruckusThe superintendent of Gwangju schools has written a “letter of self-reflection” to that city’s chapter of the Korea Teachers and Education Workers Union, accepting blame for the appointment of a school master. It is an unfortunate incident. The superintendent betrayed his authority by saying he made a mistake. It was not honorable behavior. The teachers union intervened in the personnel appointment. It deserves the criticism.
The incident started with the appointment of someone involved in irregularities as a school master. So the superintendent started the chain of events. If he knew he would write a letter of apology, he would have been more discreet. Moreover, if he appointed someone out of sympathy because his retirement was imminent, he was being unethical. The teachers union, instead of raising objection or issuing recommendations through legitimate procedures, has crossed the line by demanding the apology. What will the teachers do, if students, following their example, demand similar letters?
The incident appears to be a preliminary skirmish between civic groups and the government over personnel management. The new government plans to legitimize teachers associations and allow their participation in school management. It also plans to adopt policy allowing schools to invite reform-minded outsiders as school masters.
In line with such policy, the teachers union will collect data on irregularities in appointments to drive out questionable teachers. Let alone the legitimacy of reviewing personnel appointments with the association and divulging records of personnel council meetings, the failures of the previous government are likely to repeated. Confron-tation between government and the teachers union makes people uneasy.