Gerry Reid, Opposition Education Critic and MHA for the District of
Twillingate-Fogo, says he is amazed that Education Minister Tom Hedderson
would issue a press release recognizing teacher/staff appreciation week when
his government cut 256 teaching positions last year and expected to cut
another 220 teaching positions this year.
"I could not believe my eyes
when I read this press release from Minister Hedderson," said Mr. Reid. "If
the minister truly appreciated the work that teachers do on a daily basis, a
good start would be not firing the people you are trying to appreciate. It
is unfortunate that Minister Hedderson does not see the irony of his press
"I have spoken to dozens of teachers over the past several months, many
of whom are feeling the stresses of a dramatically increased workload. While
there continues to be more work for teachers to complete, there are fewer
teachers in the system to fulfill the demands of educating our young people.
Is this appreciation?
"The minister can continue to issue fluffy press releases that do nothing
to improve the education system in our province, or he can actually begin
making some decisions that will help improve our system. We are losing
teachers through cutbacks, school infrastructure is falling apart because it
is not receiving the investment it requires, school busses are not being
inspected regularly and programming opportunities are shrinking as a result
of cost-saving measures. The minister should be focusing on corrective
measures for these issues.
"There are schools in the province that do not have teachers for
specialized programs. Schools such as Harbour Grace Primary have been
without a physical education teacher since September. Unless these positions
are filled and cutbacks are stopped, our children will be the people who
will ultimately suffer."