[EDITORIALS]Union has a bad ideaThe Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union is promoting a new method under which school masters of primary, middle and high schools are elected directly by teachers. The union intends to replace the appointment system at each school with elections. The proposal sounds democratic.
But universities that introduced direct elections in compliance with democratization are returning to the old system of appointing the president due to the negative fallout elections have caused. Factionalism has impinged on the election of university presidents, and bribery is rampant, a reflection of the political arena. The claim by administrative staffs and students that they also have the right to participate in the election has created further problems, delaying the education calendar. Against this backdrop of confusion, the union is now attempting to drag primary, middle and high schools into election turmoil, too. We wonder whether the union’s move is really good for education.
The motivation behind the union’s effort is not clear. It claims that a feudalistic and bureaucratic school culture derives from the current appointment system. It also claims that the suicide of the master of Boseong Primary School happened because of this culture. The union tries to evade responsibility by shifting fault to the appointment system. We are not saying the appointment process is perfect. There are authoritarian school masters who force obedience on teachers, wielding their power of performance evaluations. But flaws such as this can be resolved through the scrutiny of education authorities.
The most qualified school master is the person who can best realize effective management and good education under the given financial conditions and environment. This results from decades of experience as an educator, not from popularity or the number of “yes” ballots coming from factional support.
The union, the spearhead of true education, should devote itself to teaching students. It should not drive our society into turmoil by insisting on the election of school masters.