Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/1/2016 (437 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Conservative Leader Brian Pallister says education will be "the number one investment in the future of our province" if he forms a government after the April 19 provincial election.
Pallister has promised a Tory government would not cut teachers -- though it would recognize the autonomous authority of local school boards to do so.
Pallister emphasized his own union roots as a teacher in a wide-ranging interview with Manitoba Teachers' Society website manager and publications editor George Stephenson, to be published in the January-February issue of the Manitoba Teacher.
MTS provided an advance copy to the Free Press -- you can read the entire article at wfp.to/mtspallister.
The MTS article pointed out repeatedly there is widespread fear the Conservatives would return to their funding cuts of their last government in the 1990s and would impose standardized tests on the system.
"People working at the front line of the public service in health care, education and social services; that's your front line and I believe there's waste in government," Pallister said. "We can find the waste, we can eliminate the waste, and we can protect front-line services. That's what most people care about."
But, Pallister cautioned, "You have to allow local autonomy to exist. School boards have decisions to make. The decision I would make is to support education. What I am getting at is, in terms of the allocation of resources, that those resources have to be there for the front line."
Stephenson's article points out the Manitoba Conservatives have hammered the NDP over the results of national and international testing of students in math, reading and science, in which Manitoba students regularly rank at or near the bottom among Canadian provinces and territories.
"Frankly, it doesn't surprise me when I read these test results," Pallister told the teachers' magazine. "We face some challenges in our province, with a higher percentage than most provinces of new Canadians who have language challenges.
"We also have a high percentage of indigenous students who are moving into (large) schools, in many cases in the inner city, from isolated communities, remote communities, things like that. The culture shock (is) very real.
"Recognizing that is important, recognizing we have to focus on the needs of those students as young people with potential is really important. We have been gathering ideas -- and I am looking for more suggestions (from) teachers who I know have a great interest and stake in -- on how we can improve our offerings to those specific young people particularly," said Pallister, who wants a made-in-Manitoba solution.
"Teachers are telling me they would like to have more latitude to do more analysis, not less; more reporting, not less. But they want it to be worthwhile reporting, not necessarily reporting for show, but reporting accurately to give parents and students accurate feedback."