Tackling myths in education was at the forefront of discussions at the Global Education Conference in Montreal today as union leaders looked at ways to keep policy free of falsehoods.
Professor Pasi Sahlberg took the stage in Montreal to teach the participants at the Global Conference on Education in Montreal, Quebec, that uniting for quality education means adopting a broader and bolder vision of things. In order to do so, false myths that harm teachers’ as well as students’ and pupils’ rights have to be deconstructed. One of them is the competition and choice myth. According to the PISA study, it has never been proven that when schools compete over enrolment, the quality of education improves. Still, this argument is often used to cut public spending on education. Other usual topics that are subject to biased interpretation are test-based accountability, parental involvement and teacher quality.
The fact that policy decisions are often made based on these myths is something that education trade unions are well aware of. Many of the interventions of the participants have pointed to similar situations in countries all over the world. Education International’s President Susan Hopgood underlined this, stating that “We all have our individual stories, but when we share these stories amongst ourselves, we realize how similar they are; how much we have in common and how much power our commitment brings to the cause of our students and our communities.”
Common issues and struggles are shaping what has been labelled by Angelo Gavrielatos, president of the Australian Teachers’ Association, one of the biggest political processes ever seen in the world: the selection of the new Millennium Development Goals (MDGs.) With 2015 the deadline less than 500 days away, Education International is playing a key role advocating for quality education.