Gov­ern­ment can bet­ter serve schools

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

Stu­dents, par­ents and ed­u­ca­tors around our province are busy pre­par­ing for what will hope­fully be another suc­cess­ful school year. This is a time of re­newal — a time filled with hope and an­tic­i­pa­tion. Un­for­tu­nately, for many fam­i­lies it is also a time faced with trep­i­da­tion about the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion our stu­dents are re­ceiv­ing.

The Au­di­tor Gen­eral has re­cently re­ported se­ri­ous de­fi­cien­cies in the pro­vi­sion of teacher pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment. And, teach­ers have re­peat­edly in­di­cated they sim­ply do not have the sup­ports they need to ef­fec­tively de­liver the prob­lem­atic math cur­ricu­lum. The Au­di­tor Gen­eral has noted that cur­ricu­lum pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for teach­ers has not been im­ple­mented ac­cord­ing to the best prac­tices, that schools have not com­pleted re­quired train­ing, and do not al­ways have the re­sources needed to do so.

Pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment is crit- ical since par­ents ex­pect teach­ers to ef­fec­tively teach the re­quired cur­ricu­lum us­ing the most cur­rent teach­ing and learn­ing strate­gies. When teach­ers are not ad­e­quately sup­ported, the in­evitable out­come is that our chil­dren are left ill-pre­pared to suc­ceed and com­pete aca­dem­i­cally. Since 2003, math­e­mat­ics scores for stu­dents in New­found­land and Labrador have con­tin­ued to de­cline, yet teach­ers are still not re­ceiv­ing ad­e­quate re­sources for pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment.

When the school year ended in June I raised this is­sue pub­licly and an­tic­i­pated that Gov­ern­ment would take ac­tion and do the right thing. In the House of Assem­bly I asked the Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion to take ac­tion to re­solve this sit­u­a­tion be­fore the start of a new school year. That was 11 weeks ago, and still gov­ern­ment has ne­glected to pro­vide ad­di­tional re­sources for teach­ers or new sup­ports for stu­dents.

In­stead we are head­ing into a new school year with fewer teach­ers and in some cases larger class sizes. The cur­rent gov­ern­ment has cho­sen, con­trary to the ad­vice of ed­u­ca­tors and the Au­di­tor Gen­eral, not to make qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion a pri­or­ity for our chil­dren. Rather than shar­ing in the back-to-school ex­cite­ment, we are left won­der­ing how our ed­u­ca­tors will man­age another school year with fewer re­sources and sup­ports.

Dale Kirby is the op­po­si­tion MHA re­spon­si­ble for Ed­u­ca­tion and Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment

When teach­ers are not ad­e­quately sup­ported, the in­evitable out­come is that our chil­dren are left ill-pre­pared to suc­ceed and com­pete aca­dem­i­cally.

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