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[Editorial] Emphasizing Ideology At Our Children’s Expense

[Editorial] Emphasizing Ideology At Our Children’s Expense

Posted December. 27, 2005 03:02,   


A total of 14 assembly members from the ruling party have tabled a bill which makes middle and high school students` associations’ legal entities. Legally instituting students` associations is something that has been continuously promoted by the teachers’ unions together with the teachers association and parents` association bill which is before the committee for education under the National Assembly.

Unionized teachers said after the revised private school law was passed that making students`, parents`, and teachers’ associations into legal entities is central to the democratization of schools and should be done quickly.

Assemblyman Gu Non-hoe, who led the tabling of the bill, said, "This has nothing to do with the unionized teachers. The bill was drafted in order to reflect students’ voices in areas of self autonomy such as hair length and selection of retreat locations.” However, the proposed law states that students beyond their autonomous area can ask and make general suggestions about school regulations to the school management committee.

According the proposed bill, students` associations can become political tools because teachers` associations are mainly made up of unionized teachers. In France, which acknowledges students` autonomous rights, students frequently boycott classes.

Schools are already heavily influenced by unionized teachers. If students` associations were to be institutionalized, they could become subordinate to unionized teachers.

Unionized teachers using the “democratization of schools” as their justification, have heavily influenced educational policies such as the private school reform bill, watering down the teacher evaluation system, continuing the policy of saying “no” to a high school ranking system, separate written tests for each university, admission by donation, the enforcement of a ranking system for Korean SAT scores, and revising the National Education Information System NEIS). They are also pushing for a principal election system where principals are elected by school management committees. The situation is as if lawmakers from the ruling party were acting as deputies of unionized teachers in legally institutionalizing students` associations.

At school, strengthening individual and national competitiveness is needed. To do this, many citizens want parents and students to have the right to choose their schools. However, it seems that unionized teachers are objecting to this and trying to run schools according their ideologies.

Roh Moo-hyun`s government has kept close ties with unionized teachers. Unionized teachers have over-emphasized equality at the expense of our children`s potential in the age of knowledge-based societies and globalization. How long must we watch the Roh government and the ruling party mishandle our education system, which needs careful planning, because of the grip of our left-wing unionized teachers?