Skip to main content

Education in Manitoba

On April 17, I spoke on a resolution on education put forward by Matt Wiebe, the MLA for Concordia.   The resolution stated: "THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba urge the provincial government to immediately reverse the cuts to K-to-12 and post-secondary education, which have failed Manitoba students, in order to ensure every student has access to affordable, quality education."


My speech, from Hansard, is below:


Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, let me say a few comments on this resolution.
      First of all, we had a government which talked about aiming higher when they came in, and they appear to be, if anything, [to be] aiming lower. There is no evidence at this point that there is really a plan to address the problems which have been mentioned in  terms of the lower graduation rates, in terms of  the skills that the member for Swan River (Mr. Wowchuk) was talking about, the skills deficit. Where are the plans to actually address and improve these areas? I see no vision, no plans; it's sad.
      Instead of developing plans, this government picked an argument with the Manitoba Teachers' Society. Instead of working with teachers to find  ways to improve education in Manitoba, the government members are resorting to rhetoric over substance, and we are not seeing the improvements that we should see.
      This government has cut support for French-language education in Manitoba at a time when it [enrollment in French-language education] is increasing. We await for the plans to address the educational issues in indigenous communities. I'm glad that the federal government is making some progress here, but I don't see the province paying much attention to this.
      In post-secondary education, we have been seeing cutbacks in funding to our post-secondary education institutions. We're seeing increases in tuition fees. We've seen the elimination of the tuition  rebate. We've seen the health coverage for international students being taken away. And I should add that these are students who have come here–I've been hearing from graduate students–they came here to make a contribution, to add to the body of knowledge and research on scientific and social science as well as physical sciences. And, certainly, there is an opportunity to welcome these students instead of to say, oh, we're just going to make you pay more if you come here. I think there would have been a much better way, a much better understanding of the importance that these students are playing in research and innovation, if they're grad students, bringing ideas and bringing their knowledge and their expertise from around the world to contribute here in Manitoba. And this is a government which is saying, no, no, we're not so interested in you. We're just going to cut back on the support for your health care while we're here. It's sending the wrong message, Madam Speaker.
      I do appreciate the government's recent attention to talking more about addressing bullying and harassment and sexual harassment. This is a remarkable change from a government [of] which many members who were in opposition not very long ago fought tooth and nail against a bill to bring in measures to reduce bullying in schools. And I'm glad that there's a more focused awareness.  We have heard from all sides of the Chamber in recent years of the need to do more. And I'm glad that the government members are at least moving in the right direction in this area.

      I will conclude my remarks, Madam Speaker–thank you, merci–so that there can be a vote on this resolution. And I hope all members will support it. Thank you.  

The resolution was talked out.  It did not pass.

Also, with regard to Education in Manitoba please note our upcoming Forum.  It is an open public forum and there is no cost to attend. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Comparison between Manitoba and South Dakota shows dramatic impact of Physical Distancing

Manitoba implemented physical distancing measures in mid-March.  South Dakota has still not made physical distancing mandatory.   The result is a dramatic difference in the incidence of covid-19 viral infections between the two jurisdictions.   This graph shows the number of people with Covid-19 infections from March 27 to April 14.  Manitoba ( red line )  started leveling off about April 4 and has seen only a small increase in Covid-19 infections since then.   South Dakota ( blue line )   has seen a dramatic increase in Covid-19 infections since April 4.  Those who are skeptical of the impact of physical distancing in Manitoba should look at this graph! Data are from the Johns Hopkins daily tabulations

The hiring of Avis Glaze and what it may mean for the future of school boards in Manitoba

The Pallister government's education review commission has chosen Avis Glaze to be the lead consultant for its review of kindergarted to grade 12 education.   Based on Ms Glaze's recommendation to eliminate school boards in Nova Scotia - which the province has now done - there is concern she may coordinate a similar recommendation in Manitoba.   I asked about this in Question Period earlier today.   My question and the Minister's response is below - from Hansard. K-to-12 Education Review - Manitoba School Boards Hon. Jon -Gerrard - (River Heights):         The government of Manitoba has hired Avis Glaze, a lead consultant for its commissioned review–K-to-12 education. In her report for Nova Scotia, she referred to school boards as undisciplined, fractious, and role-confused entities, representing narrow interests, and she recommended that all school boards be eliminated.  [Nova Scotia has since elminated all school boards.]        Why would the government hire a

Will the Premier get prepared for the fall by improving ventilation in schools as Ontario is doing?

Good evidence now shows that improving ventilation in schools can dramatically reduce  COVID-19 infections.  See this scientific report at this link  Thursday May 27, I asked the Premier whether  he  would be preparing schools for the fall by taking measures to improve ventilation in schools in Manitoba.  My question and his response (from Hansard) are below.  Notwithstanding the Premier's statement that  "some" money may be used for ventilation, there does not appear to be a real plan to increase school ventilation and humidity as a major effort.  COVID‑19 Spread Prevention Ventilation Systems in Schools Hon. Jon  Gerrard  (River Heights):  Mr. Deputy Speaker, improving ventilation in schools decreases transmission of COVID‑19, as I table. We called on the Premier to act on this last fall, but nothing was done. Air dilution methods, opening doors, opening windows and using fans have an effect, but combined with the installation of HEPA filters can reduce COVID‑19 i