Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/10/2014 (2437 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Waste staffer will be missed
I am sorry to learn that Darryl Drohomerski has left his position as manager of solid waste (Senior top civic staffer quits, In Brief, Oct. 9).
Drohomerski has served the people of Winnipeg well. He ushered in changes that, despite early hiccups, have successfully diverted more waste from the landfill. He was willing to consult with the public, and has been responsive to the needs of community organizations.
Thank you, Darryl.
Moving learning forward
Simon Laplante, assistant superintendent at the Seine River School District, wrote a mumbling attack on Anna Stokke, a tireless volunteer advocate for better math education and co-founder of WISE Math (Manitoba's classroom challenges, Letters, Oct. 9).
Stokke's article was driven by facts. Ten years ago, Manitoba was performing at the Canadian average in mathematical assessments, and P.E.I. was at the very bottom. Five years ago, Prince Edward Island instituted standardized testing in three grades.
In the latest Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP), those positions have reversed, with Manitoba now trailing all other provinces, while P.E.I. enjoys a position in the middle of the pack.
Some members of the educational establishment, themselves complicit in implementing the policies that are dragging Manitoba down, respond by circling the wagons and engaging in ad hominem attacks rather than focusing on what needs to change.
Laplante's facile caricature of what Stokke and WISE Math represent indicates a lack of homework on his part. WISE Math represents the professional mathematics community, and advocates for the 40 recommendations of the 2008 National Mathematics Advisory Panel report, an American Congress-initiated study that worked from a systematic analysis of 16,000 educational research publications.
Laplante's failure to look at the research itself shows a shocking lack of critical thinking.
Associate professor of mathematics, University of Manitoba
Letter-writer Simon Laplante's defence of education innovations is justifiable, provided these innovations have been properly tested and indicate they lead to improved student achievement.
But when they're adopted merely because they appear progressive yet prove detrimental, they become nothing more than fads after all.
As for Laplante's assertions that excessive drills in math are counterproductive and result in an intense dislike of math, what's the result of insufficient drills and practice? Manitoba's recent PCAP scores are the answer.
As an educator and reading specialist, I have witnessed persistent learning challenges and their consequences for struggling students, despite current interventions.
The common denominator across all subject areas is reading. Research suggests students who process language differently are unable to grasp concepts through traditional reading and writing instruction.
Teachers who seek alternate methods and strategies to reach these students have no such training available to them in Manitoba. We must search for, examine and implement research-based techniques that are successful in other provinces and countries.
Our struggling students deserve equal access to all learning while being provided with alternate ways of to demonstrating their knowledge and understanding of concepts.
Christine van de Vijsel
Child welfare starts at home
Thank you for stating the obvious -- which everyone else seems to have missed (Child welfare is not a rescue job, Editorial, Oct. 6).
Preventing family breakdown is key. Working with parents is key. Manitoba spending the bulk of taxpayers' money to give parents a lift is key.
One question worth considering when all is said and done: What am I doing as an individual to help caregivers, children, families, government officials and not-for-profit agencies who are struggling?
Executive director, Inner City Women's Ministries International
A practical Mideast plan
In about 100 words, letter-writer Mark Rash has laid out a succinct, darkly realistic history of the Middle East, found common ground in the regional foreign policy positions of Canada's three main federal political parties and outlined practical guidelines for this country's Mideast involvement (Parsing Mideast peace role, Letters, Oct. 9).
Let's hope Ottawa still reads the Free Press.