[EDITORIALS]Gangster teachersAt schools that have been selected to pilot test a system for evaluating teachers, graffiti criticizing the headmaster are being discovered while anonymous phone calls threatening school officials are being made, creating an atmosphere of fear at the schools.
At some schools teachers belonging to the Korean Teachers and Educational Workers Union have gathered and threatened school officials, claiming that no one can beat the union. This sort of pressure is so effective that a couple of schools have withdrawn from pilot-testing the evaluation system. However, it also demonstrates what the union is really about.
Even if they oppose the evaluation system, teachers must act like teachers. How can they scribble slogans on walls or windows? What do you expect these teachers to teach their students? Furthermore, how can we call people teachers who issue threats and use intimidation? In order to get rid of these people who are not teachers the evaluation system must be enforced.
The evaluation system aims to further the professionalism of the teachers and raise the quality of public education. This is in line with the union’s goal of providing a true education ― something that has been pushed to the side and in some cases supplanted by a heavy reliance on private tutoring. In order to enhance the educational quality at schools, we must raise the quality of the teachers. This is not possible with the current system, which guarantees teachers retire at a given age. Through teacher evaluations, their capabilities must be judged in order to eliminate those who lack the proper skills.
The Education Ministry, bending to the union’s will, has said it would use the evaluation system not for restructuring and filtering the teachers but as a reference for self- improvement.
Nevertheless, the union is not listening to anyone. It is staging solidarity strikes and issuing personal attacks against the headmasters. The ministry has said it would reduce classroom hours and increase the number of administrative personnel in order to reduce the burden on teachers as it introduces the evaluation system.
This is what the union had asked for as a precondition to introducing the evaluation system. The union has gained this much through negotiations. But now it is time for the union to make concessions. The union needs to stop all obstructing activities. The ministry needs to censure those that engage in illegal activities and behavior not fit for a teacher.