Group planning rally Sunday against planned education cuts

Concerned Islanders urged to join protest in front of Province House

Published on June 5, 2014

The Islanders against 2014 Cuts to Education are planning a protest rally Sunday, June 8, at 2 p.m. in front of Province House in Charlottetown.

Organizers say the rally is in response to the recent announcement by the Department of

Education of 32 additional full-time teaching positions lost across P.E.I. for the coming school year.

“This drastic cut measure has seen some smaller schools having to lose the Reading Recovery Program, which was implemented as an early intervention strategy for students in Grade 1 to receive outside classroom resource to strengthen literacy skills,” says Patty van Diepen, a spokeswoman for the lobby group.

“These cuts have also spurned on the necessity of more combined classes for students across the province, a situation only five years ago used as the basis for closing small schools as combined classes were then viewed as not being an optimal learning environment and would hinder successful educational outcomes.

“These talks have also lit a fire under the school board to head up discussions on future school closures, consolidation and rezoning for the 57 current school zones on P.E.I.”

Van Diepen said the group is urging all concerned Islanders to make a sign and join the rally to give a strong voice to what many believe is an educational crisis for the children of P.E.I.

She said currently almost 40 per cent of public high school graduates are exiting the school system with literacy and math deficiencies.

“Our provincial assessments reflect that many of our Island schools are struggling without intervention in the form of additional human resources i.e, teachers to help our students, our future leaders and caregivers of society. Our PISA testing puts us not only below our Canadian counterparts but sub par to underdeveloped countries.

“We are not asking to be No. 1 worldwide but we are demanding, begging, pleading to be at least on the positive side of our national ranking.”