Newfoundland and Labrador Teacher's Association President took advantage of her address to Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils to lecture Provincial Education Minister Clyde Jackman on the unions concerns about the province's intractable position regressive education cuts.
Jackman was key note speaker at the opening dinner but that did not prevent Cole from making a passionate, logical and factual appeal to the minister to reconsider the cuts which will impact the delivery of important programs and impact students in the classroom.
Cole told delegates, guests and the minister that the message from teachers, administrators and educational stakeholders is quite clear, and consistent, these cuts will impact students and their learning in the classroom.
She said the characterization that the cuts to special needs and administrative allocations by the Minister will not impact students is wrong and difficult to comprehend.
The Minister appeared to be caught off-guard by the challenge,which is hard to fathom considering he was flanked by his communications director and senior officials who were expecting opposition to the cuts.
Jackman responded with a mesmerizing list of facts and figures that confused the issue of the depth of the cuts and committed to respond to Cole's points at another time. The Provincial government is covering the costs of delegate fees for all school councils this year and is continuing to invest millions in new school construction this year.
The minister pointed out the many successes during the administrations tenure which just makes his stubborn refusal to reconsider the investigating cuts even harder to understand.Why roll back such success at a time when we are expecting so much more from teachers.
Today, another victim of the Budget 2013 cuts will deliver his final speech. The RCMP officer responsible for community engagement and youth drug awareness will be talking about the threats of addictions and drugs in our province's schools. Funding for that campaign was cut as well.
The NDP and Liberal education critics are also attending the weekend meetings being held in Corner Brook