PD days issue draws arguments for both pro, con

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Ghiz argues in favour of more support to help teachers improve in classroom

Education

The issue of professional development days for teachers seemed like an unusual topic for Premier Robert Ghiz in remarks Monday before a joint meeting of P.E.I. Rotary clubs, where business leaders and politicians filled the seats. Even more surprising was his strong argument that Island teachers need more PD days to improve their ability to teach students.

Well, it was the state of the province address and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results released early last month, which showed P.E.I. in last place in Canada on test results for math, reading and science, have generated a lot of comment, criticism and proposed solutions.

It is a very polarizing issue. Many people think teachers have enough PD days now, perhaps too many.

Parents concerned about poor test results, which they believe put their children behind the rest of the country, think students should be spending more time in the classroom, not less. Fewer teaching days mean their children will fall farther behind.

Then there is the other side of the argument which believes teachers need more PD days to become better instructors. How many times have we heard the comment, since the PISA test scores were released, that teachers need more resources to help their students. Well, isn’t a PD day a key resource?

Premier Ghiz remarked that he first thought there are enough PD days. Then, upon doing research he discovered that a province like Quebec, which has many more PD days than P.E.I. and only 180 teaching days (compared to P.E.I.’s 181), led all of Canada in PISA tests and was among the top level in G-7 countries.

It should also be noted that Alberta, which scored high in PISA, has more than 195 teaching days and obviously fewer PD days. Strong arguments can be made for both options.

It’s been suggested that perhaps PD days should be held on Saturdays or in the summer which won’t interrupt classroom time. That would mean rewriting contracts and paying teachers more money for going to work in their time off.

Premier Ghiz said the province is following a number of recommendations from a study conducted in 2006 after previous PISA results yielded similarly poor scores. Those include adding three more PD days, adopting common assessments and implementing early interventions.

It is crucial for teachers and school administrators to receive the training and get the resources they need to help students achieve better outcomes.

 

Athletes mourn Rogers’ death

 

Funeral services will be held today for P.E.I.’s godmother of physiotherapy. Janet Rogers was a pioneer in the medical field, especially in sports physio. Many athletes are indebted for her tireless work and attention for well over 30 years, dealing with sprains, pulls and fractures and other sports-related injuries.

There were not many games she missed with the Charlottetown Abbies, or UPEI hockey, basketball and soccer teams, home and away, for more than a generation.

She required physiotherapy treatment herself while still a teenager and after earning degrees in her field, began working with young polio patients as staff physiotherapist at the Charlottetown Rehab Centre from 1959 to1966 and then director of physiotherapy services from 1966 to 1981.

Her nephew talked her into helping him with a sports injury in the early 1980s and the rest is history as she turned her passion for sports and a burning desire to help the injured into a rewarding legacy. She was a regular at many winter and summer

Canada Games teams as part of the Island contingent.

The longtime board member of Sport P.E.I. understood injuries and understood athletes and helped many of them stay in sports. She will be missed.

Organizations: Charlottetown Rehab Centre

Geographic location: Iceland, Canada, Quebec Alberta

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  • pd me
    January 15, 2014 - 22:28

    Sure, bring in more PD days, but make sure there are substitutes in place to cover class on those days. The kids have enough time at home playing video games on storm days without every school week being shortened by one or two days. PD is important, but not at the expense of classroom time.

  • Carolyn MacGuigan-Elliott
    January 15, 2014 - 15:21

    As Janet's youngest niece to her sister, (Daryl Maclean, deceased Jan 16th '95), I grew up being a little "sidekick" to Janet & my Grandmother (who lived with Janet most of my life) and as widely known for her devotion to her career & UPEI varsity teams, The Abbie's, as well as many other areas of her life as the "go to" Physiotherapist for the Island, Janet was also just as devoted to her family. She hadn't any children of her own, yet the 5 of us, as well as our cousins, she spared no expense whether it was the generosity of her time, especially in the summers at her Canoe Cove cottage, which she loved so dearly, to always being there if any of us showed an interest in anything when we were children. I remember many winters she & I would spend entire days on the weekends (when she had very little, precious "off days") when we would go cross country skiing. Noticing how much I enjoyed it she would buy any equipment needed to ensure it be easy & fun as possible, then would take me all over our beautiful Island to find new & scenic trails. If I stated missing swimming at the cottage during Fall through late Spring she'd get us both passes for "The Spa" just so we could go swimming any evening or weekend she'd be able to take me. When she found out they had lessons, she was quick to enroll me despite how much it would consume any possible "free time" she had. The same generosity would be given to my siblings as well, that was the kind of Aunt she was to us. She would make every opportunity, from summers at the cottage, to giving all of herself to us during the rest of the year also. This was the kind of special Aunt she was & she will always be in our hearts...

  • ITOLDUSO
    January 15, 2014 - 11:59

    He may have pulled his head out of the sand but he stuck it some where else. He compaired 180 day of school for Quebec to hour 181 but then states he is giving 3 of thoes days away to PD. and also stated on the radio that he was intending to give PD more days in the future. Well if this is the case they had better maintain the 180 days and give the PD days during late summer or early summer which ever the Teachers union wishes. If they don't like that then the government should make it manditory the teachers get there upgradeing on there own time not on taxpayers time. I would say Ghiz is looking for support in the next election, nothing more

  • It's Not Working
    January 15, 2014 - 10:27

    The results of 2006 are the same as today . Therefore it's obviously not improving the education of our childern . And "YES" our childern will have less chance than the childern of the other provinces of success . I can't understand the parents today not being more conserned and pushing the goverment - teachers and whoever else is involved in correcting this . Your childern are the ones to suffer for your lack of reaction .