Education Minister Alan McIsaac
Editor: As a life-long teacher and administrator I was shocked at the flippant and irrelevant answer our minister of education gave in the legislature to a perfectly legitimate question of how he spent 77 days out of the legislature attending various conferences and meetings. This would be equivalent to 77 of our much-discussed PD days, or almost four full months worth.
I would offer him the following assignment, a variant on the classic ‘What Did You Do Over the Summer?’ — everyone’s return to the harsh reality of the classroom. The following items are to be included in the report 1) Where were these conferences? 2) What was the theme of each conference 3) With what discussion groups or committees was the minister involved? 4) Were there guest speakers? 4) What did the minister learn at these events? 5) Representing the province scoring last on testing reports, what was he able to bring to the table? And, lastly, 6) How, and to whom, did he present his findings?
The last question is obviously the ‘biggie’. The ‘Omerta’ of travel and meetings.
I believe every minister attending an out-of-province conference should be required to present at least a one-page report on the event to the legislature.
This need not be long or include all the above details; it is simply finding out if our tax dollars were well spent on these events and what was learned from them. Obviously if they were worthwhile (or not) we should hear about them openly upon a minister’s return.
Unless shown otherwise, it seems that it might have been more beneficial for Mr. McIsaac to have spent 77 days in various island classrooms, living the realities of our provincial education system.