Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Education Ministers Fail a Grade

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Education Ministers Fail a Grade

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Education ministers fail a grade

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An editorial from the Charlottetown Guardian, published July 11:

A day after the local chamber of commerce said it was "extremely concerned" over P.E.I. students' dismal test scores and poor skills training, ministers of education from across the nation meeting in Charlottetown took a surprising nonchalant attitude on the same topics. Just when we were convinced that education was at a crisis point, we are told to relax, things are not as bad as those nasty PISA people would lead us to believe and that better test results are on the way.

The closing press conference by the Council of Ministers of Education might have been designed to calm nervous parents and students, and reassure business leaders but it was a disappointing response to what many people believe are serious problems.

The meeting chair said Canadian students are doing much better than some may believe. The Alberta minister downplayed media coverage and reaction to Canada's standings in 2013 PISA results and P.E.I. Education Minister Alan McIssac was right beside him, nodding in agreement.

A recent random sample of P.E.I. teachers found not one had a background or major in mathematics. At least Mr. McIsaac acknowledges this as a wake up call. The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, appearing before a legislature Standing Committee on Education and Innovation, is concerned those poor scores are hurting the Island's economy and urged government to stop the erosion of education supports.

The national meeting chair said people who did the testing say Canada's results "are not statistically significant." Are we to discount the entire PISA process and accept the argument that Canadian students are doing OK in math, reading and science? P.E.I. placed last in the nation in those PISA tests and there has been a storm of criticism expressed since the test results were released late last year

Education ministers, instead of proposing solutions, chose to ignore the results and argue that an overhaul of the education system is not needed over the results of one test. …

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