Letters, March 2
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In the midst of recent articles and letters about the merits and demerits of high-stakes final exams, I took a stance on the “demerit” side, while acknowledging they have been a big part of my education and career.
With the surprising reintroduction of provincial Grade 12 tests, I’d like to raise a point of fact about the opinion of teachers whose students wrote them. Following each Grade 12 English Language Arts and mathematics test administered leading up to the pandemic, documents called “General Comments” were published and are still available online at https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/assess/archives/index.html. Well over 80 per cent, and sometimes 100 per cent, of teachers who responded to a followup survey believed the tests were consistent with the respective curriculum.
This should allay some concern that such tests can only fall short in this regard. It remains true, meanwhile, that this form of assessment is but one approach that has the advantage of being highly efficient. Care is required to ensure students have opportunities to express what they know and can do, even if at the expense of convenience.
How test results are used, including apart from contributing to student final grades, is another contentious matter that may well result in more debate.
Saving taxpayers’ money?
The 2023 Manitoba Inspiration Guide arrived at my door about the same time as the $225 “rebate” to apparently offset carbon taxes. Clearly the money is an attempt to buy votes, but the travel guide is even more ominous in its message… this government’s priorities are completely corrupted.
The “inspiration guide” has a lot of information about the marvellous travel opportunities in our spectacular province, but printing such a disastrously expensive magazine on the least-recyclable (glossy) paper demonstrates this government’s allegiance to its business supporters while only adding to the garbage/recycling problems in our province.
When it comes to accessing provincial parks — some of our best travel opportunities — this government relies on the internet and online booking, so this magazine remains a clear demonstration of poor priorities. A simple postcard with the URL of a website that could offer so much more, and cost so much less, would reach more people.
Costs and benefits
Dr. Henry P. Krahn is confused (“Delays for care unbearable,” Letters. Feb. 25). He writes that, as a urologist in Manitoba for 36 years, up to 2002, his patients were operated on within a day or so, unlike today. He then condemns socialism (public health care) saying that it leads to shortages and misery, forgetting that he practised here under that very same “socialist” system that he claims had excellent results.
And then he praises the traditional fee-for-service private health-care market in his adopted U.S.A., which has been abandoned by most countries for being unfair and unjust, for benefiting the rich.
Americans spend nearly twice as much per capita for their health care as Canadians. If Canada spent twice as much as it does now, for twice as many doctors and nurses, for twice as many hospitals with twice as many beds and operating rooms and twice as many services provided by our public system, Canada would have the greatest health care on Earth. Even now, Canada’s health care is excellent value.
Also, America has worse health-care results, especially child birth survival; tens of millions of Americans can’t afford health care; and the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in America is medical debt.
I guess when you are behind the scalpel earning a high income, it’s easy to ignore facts in order to support your bias.
Re: Canadians reaching a tipping point (Feb. 25)
I have always questioned the reasoning behind the practice of tipping some service workers who earn minimum wage and not others. Why do we tip those in the food services industry,and the salon industry, etc., but not minimum-wage earners in other industries?
For instance, those working in retail establishment, such as sales clerks, also earn minimum wage and work just as hard, often performing many additional tasks over and above sales. Is their work of any less value by merit of where they are employed?
I worked long hours as a sales associate for a women’s clothing store for minimum wage. My job was more than just closing the sale. It required me to stay after hours to clean fitting rooms, sweep up, keep the storage room and back office orderly, affix sales tags to clothing, order supplies, attend meetings, and various other duties, all while still being expected to greet customers within two minutes of their arrival in the store, meet all their needs, close the sale and, most importantly, meet my weekly sales target — all for minimum wage, and nobody ever tipped me!
I find tipping to be arbitrary and discriminatory, as it sends the message that only certain minimum-wage earners are worthy of tips.
Last week at a local pub, we ordered one beer, one glass of wine and then asked for the bill. The server was pleasant; drinks were fine.
Ridiculously, though, the card payment machine’s first tip option was 18 per cent, and only went up from there. I’m not opposed to tipping, but I am opposed to intimidation, which is the purpose of that machine.
Nobody wants to look cheap, but get over it. Keep a chunk of change handy and hit the final option: no tip. Leave the appropriate amount in cash. It’s up to the server to split it with kitchen and cleaning staff. That isn’t the customer’s responsibility.
By all means, tip generously for excellent service (thank you, Sam!) but shoring up the restaurant’s bottom line is not our problem.
Lots of people work for minimum wage. Think retail. If we’re willing to provide a top-up for restaurant workers, should we be doing it for everyone?
Design safer streets
Regarding reduced speed limits in residential neighbourhoods, I quite agree that 40 km/hour would be fine; 30 km/h, however, can cause problems, with drivers taking their eyes off the road to check the speedometer.
I get the impression, from news interviews, that parents want drivers to look after the safety of children playing outside on boulevards and streets.
If parents have to be responsible for their children’s safety, that could mean they might have to take their eyes off their cellphones. Obviously this would not be acceptable.
There are a number of communities with only one or no sidewalks on each street, thus requiring people of all ages to walk on the streets. These neighbourhoods were developed with the city’s authority, thus saving the city the cost of snow clearance on sidewalks. Residents need to think about saving tax money on snow clearance versus the safety of their children as they walk to school bus stops and so on.
Updated on Thursday, March 2, 2023 8:19 AM CST: Adds links, adds tile photo