As part our our Annual General Meeting, we held a Leaders Debate on Education on April 11, 2015 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the leaders of the Green, Liberal, NDP and PC parties on hand to respond to questions from our member parents, guardians, teachers, administrators and staff. More information about the debate planning and format can be found here.
The questions for the debate were developed collaboratively by Home & School members the same morning: delegates to our Annual Meeting self-organized into 10 groups of parents, guardians, teachers, administrators and staff, and worked together over an hour to come up with three questions per group. Those questions were collected by the Debate Committee and winnowed to 11 questions, reflecting a diversity of issues. The questions were known only to the Debate Committee and to the moderator; they were as follows:
- Do you support the election of school board trustees to the English Language School Board?
- What qualities will you look for in your key leadership positions: the Minister and Deputy Minister of Education?
- We heard this morning about a group in Nova Scotia that includes unions, home & school, schools boards and the department that works collaboratively to develop a unified, cohesive plan for education. Would you commit to establishment of a similar group on PEI?
- The current commitment is to outfit all Island schools with wifi in 4 to 5 years. Is this soon enough?
- How do you propose to address the current inequities across the province with respect to French education?
- This morning the Home and School Federation passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a province-wide school lunch program. Will you commit to working with home and school to move this issue forward?
- The School Act establishes free school privileges for all students. Yet there are an increasing number of student fees, sports fees, and obligations to fundraise. What will you do to return PEI to being a leader in the provision of free, equitable education?
- There are many important services that are offered outside the classroom by professionals: psychologists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists. These services have long waiting lists. How will you address this?
- That is you position on the role of standardized testing in the education system?
- Our classrooms are larger and more complex than they have ever been. The school board tell us “there's no gas left in the tank” for staffing, and teaching positions continue to be cut. Will you commit to returning our schools to adequate staffing to ensure well-resourced, inclusive classrooms?
- Our schools range in size from 60 students to more than 1000. Do your plans include possible school closures in the future?
An audio recording of the debate is available for download and can also be listened to here:
A video record of the debate will be posted here early next week.
Posted by Peter Rukavina on Sunday, April 12, 2015.