Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Is sad that now a days, doing your job well is so unusual, especially in our public schools. No wonder so many of my friends children go to private schools. This is the result of years of lowered expectations and the teacher unions. A funny thing happened to Lynden Dorval, a mild-mannered physics teacher at Ross Sheppard High School in Edmonton. He's become a folk hero. Mr. Dorval, 61, has spent 35 years in the classroom. He has a reputation as an able and respected teacher. His principal and his school board, on the other hand, regard him as a troublemaker. A week and a half ago, the school board, at the principal's request, took the highly unusual step of suspending him for unprofessional behaviour and for “negatively impacting student achievement.” Did they catch him smoking dope with students? Letting them skip class? Slipping neo-Nazi propaganda into the lesson plan? No, no, and no. What he did was worse than that. He gave them zeroes. Zero on a quiz if they missed it without a good excuse; zero on assignments they never handed in. A zero-tolerance policy toward zeroes is among the many fads that have swept the education system. This progressive notion holds that students should be graded only on the work they do, and not be penalized for the work they don't do. The theory is that if you punish them for bad behaviour, they might get too demoralized and just give up. The reality, argues Mr. Dorval, is that students respond to incentives just like the rest of us. Once they realize there are no consequences for slacking off, a certain number will slack off.