MONTREAL – Quebec’s public school system needs to brush up on weeding out bad teachers, according to a new report by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI).
The report highlights the difficulties that school boards have in dismissing teachers, citing that only seven were fired for incompetence in the last five years.
This amounts to an estimated 0.01 percent of the province’s public sector teachers.
The findings follow access to information requests to the province’s 72 school boards.
“There is something seriously wrong with the process,” said Youri Chassin, Economist and Research Director at the MEI.
“If a teacher is not that good, he or she should be fired and this is actually not happening at all in Quebec.”
The MEI report blames unions for systematically stalling the firing process and suggests school boards should regularly evaluate teaching staff.
The president of Quebec’s Provincial Association of Teachers is on the defensive and claimed all workers should have the right to proper representation and due diligence.
“You don’t just fire people left right and centre because today you wake up and decided that person’s incompetent,” said Richard Goldfinch.
Teachers are typically hired into permanent or tenured positions after a two year probation period, which is ample time for school boards to reconsider, according to union leaders.
“We don’t hire these teachers. Management hired them, so maybe the management process is flawed not the termination process,” said John Donnelly of the Pearson Teachers’ Union.
“Once we get them, we must protect them.”
School boards are currently negotiating the local portion of the public sector teachers’ collective agreements and union leaders suspect the timing of the damning report is no coincidence.
“Maybe in the French system it’s different than with us, but we will fight as hard as any of our French counterparts to protect our teachers from being fired,” insisted Goldfinch.