Manitoba's classroom challenges

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This article was published 8/10/2014 (2439 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Manitoba's classroom challenges

The Winnipeg Free Press has recently given much space to Anna Stokke's personal agenda in improving the quality of education in Manitoba, especially in mathematics (Education system is in crisis, Oct. 8).

Sadly, Stokke has chosen to qualify innovations in education as fads.

Innovations have made Canada's educational system one of the best in the world, according to a number of international assessments. We still have challenges, but let's not stifle innovation in solving these problems.

Stokke's personal penchant to return to standardized testing and focus on drills has proven to be highly ineffective. One only needs look at the U.S. to see how devastating standardized testing has been on student learning.

Drills are important, but to focus on them as the panacea for improving students' mathematics skills has proven devastating for countless generations of Canadians who are not only weak in math, but -- even worse -- hate it.

Simon Laplante



Here's a thought regarding improving education improvement: Rather than developing another new program or reinventing the wheel, as government so loves to do, how about adopting the curriculum of the province whose students are doing the best?

Once that is done, eliminate the superfluous education development bureaucracy. There's no valid reason students anywhere in Canada aren't learning the same thing at the same time during the school year.

Rolf Zimmer



I found it interesting that in the editorial What's going on in our schools? (Oct. 8), reference was made to "question how teachers and principles might adapt."

Even children in early years learn the principal is your "pal," and that helps them to spell it correctly.

It seems ironic an editorial about issues in the schools contains such a blatant error. What does this say about our newspapers?

Linda Johnstone



Teaching as a profession has so many variables that affect its success: the socioeconomic background of the students/parents, the quality and training of the teacher, the support provided by the principal and administration, funding, resources, environment -- the list is endless.

The education system is not entirely responsible for the education of our children. Parents and society are just as (if not more) responsible for creating children who have a passion and desire to learn.

If we push technology onto our children, replacing human contact and dialogue, we will fail. If we do not read passionately to our children, exploring their imagination, we will fail. If we do not play with them in the everyday environment -- counting, exploring, cooking, and so forth -- we will fail.

There's no simple fix to educating our children. It is society as a whole that is responsible. Let's not fail them.

Stuart Thomas



The cost of wearing a uniform

There are things we may be willing to die for (Canada joins the mission, Oct. 8).

But what are the things any of us would be prepared to have our children die for?

When politicians "spend" our most precious treasure, I hope the bar is set high.

Darrell Horn



Re: New Brunswick Mountie Cpl. Ron Francis found dead: lawyer (Oct. 6). Finding himself without the help he so desperately needed to deal with PTSD and seeing his beloved red serge uniform unceremoniously taken from him, Cpl. Ron Francis was basically left to die by the same people -- government and RCMP brass -- who ordered him to serve his country, which led to his PTSD.

How many more RCMP and military serving members and retired members have to take their own lives before our politicians wake up and take action to ensure these suicides will stop?

Andy Chiasson



Use tech to help search Red

I read with great interest of the finding of the Franklin expedition ships, along with a fascinating, clear photo from Parks Canada of HMS Erebus. Parks Canada confirmed a meticulous review of data and artifacts on the ocean floor using high-resolution photos as well as video and multi-beam sonar measurements.

After Parks Canada is done with the equipment, could they not lend it to the volunteers who dragged the Red River searching for missing or murdered indigenous women? I'm sure they would be delighted with the help, and the Canadian public would be delighted to support the cause.

Gisele Bedard