Better standards for teachersThe Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations, the country’s largest network of teachers and education administrators, has agreed to support a controversial government plan to conduct teacher evaluations.
Although the federation has been reluctant to support the plan, some 400 regional representatives voted to accept it at a meeting held Monday.
However, while it agrees with the plan in principle, the federation would still like the government to provide clear guidelines for the teacher evaluations before the plan is put into place.
Meanwhile, the federation’s support will likely encourage lawmakers to move forward with establishing guidelines for teacher evaluations.
Polls show that eight out of 10 people in Korea support the idea of conducting teacher evaluations as a way to improve education. The support of the general public seems to have had an influence on the members of the federation.
Some of the federation members present at the Monday meeting sent a message to teachers to accept the evaluation policy and work to improve their practice.
Now that a majority of teachers and the public support the plan, the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union, which has been against it, has no grounds to continue its opposition. The union spokesman even said last year that the union should not turn its back on the opinions of people who support the evaluation scheme.
The main goal of the plan is to improve teaching standards. Opposition to it seems like little more than self interest.
The National Assembly, for its part, should no longer allow itself to be swayed by the unions. It should take the initiative to pass the bill in the September session and prepare to implement the law next March as planned. There is no reason for the Assembly to hesitate when it has the support of the federation that accounts for nearly half of all teachers nationwide. Any further delay is offensive and goes against the public consensus.
If lawmakers don’t take action on this, it would be right to demand an evaluation of their own performance.
We welcome the federation’s decision to support the performance evaluation policy. Initiatives to improve education will be futile without clear assessments of teacher performance.