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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 31

GIVE THE NDP A CHANCE Re “Jagmeet Singh 2.0. (Thomas Mulcair, Aug. 28): An interesting discourse by Thomas Mulcair on an equally interesting individual, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Previous loyalty to Liberal, then Conservative past leanings have proven to be disappointing, to say the least. Many voters feel the same and we intend to be heard come October. Stella Mazzacato Mississauga (One of the few tools we as citizens have to hold politicians accountable is to vote) Re “Teachers to sharpen their math skills” (Brian Lilley, Aug. 28): Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario president Sam Hammond is quoted as stating, “Testing doesn’t grow confidence, competency or proficiency.” S-o-o-o-o why bother testing students? Perhaps passing grades can just be granted based on attendance? I certainly hope my future surgeon didn’t skip too many lectures! Ken Blackburn (Hammond is out of touch. Pay no attention to him) BIG CITY, BIG PROBLEMS As a law-bidding, tax-paying Toronto citizen, I don’t appreciate being punched in broad daylight on Yonge St. downtown by a person who looked to have drug issues or looking for a financial handout. He never said anything to me, but as I stepped from the street onto the sidewalk, he was waving an open hand in my face and as I ducked to get by him, he punched me in my upper back. He left the area quickly. I’ve become accustomed to being approached by street people for a variety of reasons, usually asking for money and often cursed at for not complying. If the individual who struck me was looking for money, sorry, I cannot afford to be a walking bank machine. Toronto’s skyline is growing and so are our problems. I realize there are people who are honestly down and out on their luck, but it is the aggressive individuals who give them all a bad name. I support the less fortunate by way of my church. To deal with this social issue, we require strong leadership from government at all levels. (Toronto has a growing problem and there seems to be little being done. And yes, in  order for some real action it will take more than just talking about the problem) IT’S A TEXTBOOK CASE Instead of testing the teachers on math, it would have been more productive for the provincial Tory government to invest the money in one or two good textbook series for math instruction. Ontario teachers have not had a new textbook series throughout all of the Liberal government years. In my school board, the Waterloo Region District School Board, teachers were discouraged from using textbooks and stressing memorization (I was even prevented from using the words “must memorize” on my report cards). Elementary teachers can’t be experts in all subjects. Teaching math is a highly sequenced activity that requires years of experience to do it effectively. It would have been more appropriate to support new teachers with a proven and tested math series that combines the proper sequence of learning math concepts and practice. Rae Vandenberg

(Nothing is preventing them from making the investments with the money they are receiving)

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