What now?

Evidence needed of post-strike improvements to school system

WHAT seemed like an endless summer for parents, guardians and students ended Sept. 29 when public schools once again opened following the longest teacher strike and lock out in the province’s history.

But to simply issue a huge collective sigh of relief and go back to business as normal would be wrong.

Approximately 500,000 students missed, to varying degrees, two weeks of school in June and three in September and to park that on the shelf poses significant questions.

The first of which is obvious – if the public education system, we’re told, can absorb the loss of five weeks of school then why are those weeks part of the school calendar in the first place? If there’s something that can be more productively done with public monies for public education, what might that be?

Just as crucial is one of the outcomes of the teachers’ settlement – an increase in the amount of money the province is to put into the system to hire more teachers and provide more help for students.

As anyone who has ever worked for a large organization knows, it’s fine to announce a large amount of money will be spent on something but often it’s another thing altogether when it comes to actually putting boots on the ground.

What’s needed here is a reporting system that will outline how many teachers and aides were hired, where they are teaching and, eventually, the educational outcome.

Editorial, The Terrace Standard, Oct. 1, 2014