Education Department failing children: too-large classes, failed inclusion model, no enrichment
In Question Period today, NDP Education Critic Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) was looking for answers on several serious problems in today’s classrooms. Michael hears regularly from teachers and parents concerned about the quality of the classroom experience.
“The serious lack of Instructional Resource Teachers and Student Assistants to support the Inclusive Schools Initiative means that regular classroom teachers are not able to meet the needs of all students in the classroom,” Michael said in the House of Assembly today.
“The Minister of Education and Early Childhood Education has himself said publicly that inclusive education is not working. When will he provide the resources needed for inclusion to work properly in our schools?”
Michael says despite previous assurances from government, there are five full-day kindergarten classes in the St. John’s area alone with more than 20 students. She demanded the minister do his job and fix the problem. She says he must ensure extra teachers or student assistants are placed in the largest kindergarten classes for the rest of the school year.
She also spoke out for high-achieving students, whose needs have gone unmet since Enrichment was cancelled in 2004.
“These children finish work quickly, they’re bored, they’re given a book or a computer game, or used as little tutors for others having trouble,” Michael said.
“I ask the Minister, what is he going to do to enrich the learning opportunities for high-achieving students?”