Monday, July 02, 2007

Bell Canada

Via the Associated Press and the New York Times this week I learned that Bell Canada (telephone company) agreed to sell itself to become a privately-held company. A partnership - led by the Ontario TEACHERS Pension Plan - is acquiring Bell Canada for $48.5 billion (the article did not specify Canadian or US Dollars -- sloppy editing I say) . If completed this transaction would apparently be the largest ever in Canadian history.

What I found of most interest in this news story was the fact that a group of "under-paid and over-worked......" (not my words but it is the constant theme we hear in the corridors of government) teachers are purchasing this company via their pension funds. Not a bad way to retire if you can do it!! Similar to their American colleagues, Canadian teacher salaries are paid via a system based on --
"Teacher salary schedules in Canada are generally based on a combination of years of post-secondary education and years of experience......"

Assuming the Bell Canada purchase is completed by the Teachers Pension Fund I have to ask if the teachers/retirees -- as the new owners -- plan to pay Bell Canada's management based on "years of experience" or perhaps via a system of incentive bonuses, pay for performance, management by objective, etc. ?

An injection of free market capitalism into the education establishment would be a welcome departure from the status quo we have in education today. Our current system allows the teachers' unions to determine salary rates simply based on a teacher's ability to OUTLIVE THEIR COLLEAGUES not TEACH EFFECTIVELY. If readers want to explore teacher salary reform a bit more please see one of my original postings on this very subject from September 2005 entitled, "Bob Plunkett" --

Pay for performance not longevity,


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