Gooses vs Ganders

For Pat Atkinson, no amount of regulation for certain industries is enough (see here and here and here and here).

The former Saskatchewan cabinet minister says that a minister’s job is to ensure his or her regulatory “agency provides real oversight” over its area of responsibility, “to not be a toady for any lobbyists” and “to act in the public interest, not in the interest of…any other special interest group.”

Sounds like she supports a top-down enforcement solution when it comes to regulating industries and treating with special interests.

Except when she doesn’t:

It’s time for Wall to realize that his government is acting in a high-handed manner on a number of educational policy fronts. It’s time for the premier to restore Saskatchewan’s historic approach to public education.

The my-way-or-the-highway approach won’t work.

Indeed. Given these intellectual cartwheels, it’s no wonder she has yet to comment on these findings:

What happens when Saskatchewan’s teachers break the rules?

Most are dedicated educators with flawless records. But a StarPhoenix investigation has revealed examples of teachers still allowed to teach after conduct that would shock most parents – and a disciplinary system some experts say is flawed.

In 10 cases over 18 months, Saskatchewan teachers engaged in behaviour serious enough to cost them their jobs.

Documents from a Freedom of Information request show that some teachers still have valid teaching certificates despite conduct such as slapping a student’s buttocks, doing drugs at a party and driving impaired, and, in one case, a teacher uploading a nude picture of herself to the Internet.

Each case was referred to the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation (STF), an organization charged with both representing and disciplining Saskatchewan teachers. It chose not to sanction four of those 10 teachers.

This brings up a few questions.

Pat Atkinson was Saskatchewan’s minister of education from 1993 to 1998. In that time period, how many teachers were cited for engaging in serious behaviour, and how many were fired and/or lost their licence?

Does Pat Atkinson still believe industries should not be self-regulating and, if so, will she call for third-party oversight of the education industry?

After all, it’s the kids’ safety at stake.

UPDATE: Pat Atkinson’s first column after the expose on teacher regulation? An unoriginal, mealy-mouthed attack on public-private partnerships. You’d think a former education minister who has railed against “self-regulation” might have an opinion on the last week’s call for third-party regulation in the education industry.

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