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EDUCATION MINISTER NEEDS TO DO HOMEWORK AND ANSWER THE BELL – Column, CTV Edmonton — and a poll

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It begins with the unsung heroes of this province’s education system. The people who, very quietly, go about their job — which is so much more than a job — to support our province’s youth, its most valuable resource, the best opportunity to succeed.

  • I’s Saturday afternoono when the provincial government’s department of education’s public relations machine hits the send button. 

Newsrooms — radio, television and newspaper — are working with a skeleton staff, and are quite busy with the hourly COVID-19 story, so it seems the perfect time to drop some unfortunate news.

Their unfortunate news comes as a press release.

It’s Saturday afternoon when the provincial government’s department of education’s public relations machine hits the send button.

Newsrooms — radio, television and newspaper — are working with a skeleton staff, and are quite busy with the hourly COVID-19 story, so it seems the perfect time to drop some unfortunate news.

Their unfortunate news comes as a press release.

It’s Saturday after all. We cannot disturb Education Minister Adriana LaGrange from her personal weekend activities, can we, to host a press conference and ask potentially awkward questions, can we?

It is, after all, a sensitive story: slashing funding for educational assistants, substitute teachers, bussing and other services not currently used since Alberta school doors were closed.

I have tried, for hours, to come up with a diplomatic and professional adjective to adequately describe this form of communication.

I failed.

By not having LaGrange available to the media is a public relations blunder beyond logic.

It’s an insult, too, to Alberta taxpayers.

Sending out a release and tweets on such a significant announcement is not only lazy — it’s disrespectful to taxpayers who, please do not ever take for granted, dig in their pockets and shell out for six-figure salaries.

And cabinet ministers can’t have a Saturday press conference during a historic time to, personally, address a major issue like this?

But — more sadly — the minister’s public relations, or lack of, is not the meat and potatoes of this tale.

Hardly.

It begins with the unsung heroes of this province’s education system. The people who, very quietly, go about their job — which is so much more than a job — to support our province’s youth, its most valuable resource, the best opportunity to succeed.

It might be driving a bus.

It might be helping a student with autism in a very intimidating situation find just the thinest slice of hope to fit in, and experience the priceless feeling of being included.

It might be custodial staff, arriving before classes start and staying for hours after the ringing of the last bell, to make sure classrooms, gymnasiums and lunch rooms are clean, and ready for the next day.

Ken Valgardson is a retired teacher with 36 years under his belt and, most notably, an Excellence in Teaching award.

“Teachers need the school to do the distance learning so if we don’t have it clean and maintained it wont be safe to educate our youth in these tough times. That one autistic child that smiles and only communicates with that special person in the classroom has nobody,” Valgardson said Saturday evening.

“Minister LaGrange is going to take this away from students.”

It is most disturbing, really, the provincial government is taking things away from Albertans when we need it the most.

Minister LaGrange: it’s about time you did your homework.

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Dennis Loughlin
Dennis Loughlin
March 31, 2020 12:40 pm

Excellent comments March 29, 2020, Cait. Keep up the excellent work! All the Best Dennis Loughlin

trackback
March 31, 2020 1:11 pm

[…] Talk (@Bell_LetsTalk) March 30, 2020 Latest posts A TWEET. TO REMEMBER. EDUCATION MINISTER NEEDS TO DO HOMEWORK AND ANSWER THE BELL – Column, CTV Edmonton — an… WHAT SHOULD I NAME MY NEW PONYTAIL??? PLEASE PICK ONE TO HELP ME BEFORE SUNDAY AT 4 P.M. […]

Linda Spanach
Linda Spanach
April 1, 2020 9:32 am

You got this so right, as our Provincial Government has failed. Now is not the time to lay-off workers who offer essential support if given the chance to do their jobs. Thank you for finding the truth without the politics. Looking forward to more of your informed articles. Thank you.

Katy
Katy
April 1, 2020 6:13 pm

Mr. Tait, thank you for writing the article. You are right, Minister LaGrange does need to do her homework. She has no real understanding of the necessity of the support staff in the public schools. Most are not paid very well for the jobs they do; the government takes away from the low hanging fruit and the vulnerable. There are other ways that support staff could be kept working, perhaps reducing hours in the week or taking a small pay cut for a the period of time that is needed. Rather than cut the funding which had been told would… Read more »

george spanach
george spanach
April 4, 2020 5:46 pm

Hi Cam, Thank you for having the guts to step out of the box and call the Education Minister to task. This UCP group seem just as titled as the PC group preceding them. They campaigned on working for the “middle class”, and that only lasted as long as the campaign. Hand outs to big business and Oil continue, don’t know if they can continue to cut oil and gas royalties,(they are low to begin with). Each time there is a drop in Oil prices AB. blames Ottawa and then. It will never change proceed to open the wallet for… Read more »

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Cam Tait

Cam Tait is a follower of Christ, HEROES: MOM, DAD, WIFE JOAN WHAT'S FOR BREAKFAST? PANCAKES. MEDIA MENTORS: EDDIE KEEN, PAUL RIMSTEAD, DARYL HOOKE, GEORGE WARD, CAM COLE, JIM MATHESON, TERRY JONES. BRUCE BOWIE, PAUL CASHMAN, BOB BOEHM
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PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

5 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dennis Loughlin
Dennis Loughlin
March 31, 2020 12:40 pm

Excellent comments March 29, 2020, Cait. Keep up the excellent work! All the Best Dennis Loughlin

trackback
March 31, 2020 1:11 pm

[…] Talk (@Bell_LetsTalk) March 30, 2020 Latest posts A TWEET. TO REMEMBER. EDUCATION MINISTER NEEDS TO DO HOMEWORK AND ANSWER THE BELL – Column, CTV Edmonton — an… WHAT SHOULD I NAME MY NEW PONYTAIL??? PLEASE PICK ONE TO HELP ME BEFORE SUNDAY AT 4 P.M. […]

Linda Spanach
Linda Spanach
April 1, 2020 9:32 am

You got this so right, as our Provincial Government has failed. Now is not the time to lay-off workers who offer essential support if given the chance to do their jobs. Thank you for finding the truth without the politics. Looking forward to more of your informed articles. Thank you.

Katy
Katy
April 1, 2020 6:13 pm

Mr. Tait, thank you for writing the article. You are right, Minister LaGrange does need to do her homework. She has no real understanding of the necessity of the support staff in the public schools. Most are not paid very well for the jobs they do; the government takes away from the low hanging fruit and the vulnerable. There are other ways that support staff could be kept working, perhaps reducing hours in the week or taking a small pay cut for a the period of time that is needed. Rather than cut the funding which had been told would… Read more »

george spanach
george spanach
April 4, 2020 5:46 pm

Hi Cam, Thank you for having the guts to step out of the box and call the Education Minister to task. This UCP group seem just as titled as the PC group preceding them. They campaigned on working for the “middle class”, and that only lasted as long as the campaign. Hand outs to big business and Oil continue, don’t know if they can continue to cut oil and gas royalties,(they are low to begin with). Each time there is a drop in Oil prices AB. blames Ottawa and then. It will never change proceed to open the wallet for… Read more »

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