Education Minister Alan McIsaac
By Patty van Diepen (guest opinion)
To: Education Minister Alan McIsaac. The people of Prince Edward Island are expressing grave concern over the state of our educational system. The vanquishing of Island teachers across the province have left many of us in bewilderment and disbelief.
In the wake of many qualified academics who have shared their valid concerns on our documented lagging educational evaluation, should not the minister responsible for protecting and overseeing the education of our children not step in to immediately remedy that huge misstep and disservice to our children? If not, then to what avail do we await for our children?
I appreciate the delivery of our educational system is complex and layered with issues, however, our current status with graduating members of our public school system are loudly and clearly identifying the immediate pleading of intervention.
The repetitive mantra of steps taken in our kindergarten implementation of early education is long past its accolades for its good measure. There are many other pressing issues and failing to assist now will have detrimental effects for the future. Our future.
The recent annual Home and School meeting saw a resolution move forward to modernize the antiquated teacher/student ratio that is also ad nauseam perpetuated from your office. It is time for this formula to be more reflective of hands-on teacher interaction with our students by removing administrators, guidance, and outside classroom teachers from the equation. Class composition concerns are not being addressed.
Our children need our teachers present and fully engaged where now our Island teachers are being pulled in a million directions managing children with special needs, providing direction to educational assistants, assisting children with behavioral/emotional needs and now a growing shift to more combined classes. Optimal learning environments? No. Perhaps a valid concern as to our lagging achievement outcomes? Yes.
Please leave our teachers in our classrooms. They have never been more needed by our children. It is a very backward strategy to turn your back on the education of Island children. Education is the very foundation for anything and everything you plan on succeeding in the future.
And please do not blame declining enrolment as the sole basis for removing our teachers. If the teacher/student was re-evaluated and corrected our teacher numbers may actually fall short on our expected outcomes of educational success.
The needs of our children coupled with our poor achievement results can no longer be overlooked or undervalued. Please help now.
I pray that the growing din of Island children voices does not fall on deaf ears of those responsible to ensure their future.
I also hope our elected school trustees are listening and do their part to advocate and implement new policy to support our ideals.
We can also no longer ignore the message these cuts are sending to rural Islanders who currently operate without all the bells and whistles of larger schools and are happy to do so but with these drastic cuts are prohibited to provide basic educational programming that our larger centers are guaranteed by their enrolment alone.
Patty van Diepen, Morell, is a mother with children in elementary school, and a member of the local home and school association