Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Minister Cardy needs to listen to experts

“So far I’ve heard people say the status quo is fine, we just need to do the same thing that hasn’t worked - more and harder and I don’t think it’s a sensible policy approach, so I won’t be following that one.”
Education Minister Dominic Cardy made the statement in the Telegraph-Journal regarding his controversial amendment to the Education Act which would allow some resource teachers to administer psychological tests that should only be done by licensed and trained psychologists.
Since the amendments were announced, Cardy has tried to frame himself as the only person trying to help students and that everyone who opposes his idea have vested interests, don’t care about students or don’t understand the problem.
This type of rhetoric is dangerous from politicians. When a politician dismisses expert opinions and valid criticisms because it conflicts with their point of view, then we have a problem.
Minister Cardy is not an expert in psychology. That is a fact. So when experts are telling him the plan he’s proposing will likely result in big problems, he needs to listen.
As for his statement above, again Cardy is stating falsehoods to make himself appear as the only rational person on this issue.
No one is recommending the status quo continue. Everyone involved wants to see changes to the system. In terms of school psychologists, better recruitment and retention is the best method. More psychologists working in the system means lower wait times for assessments and earlier interventions.
In fact, government has a committee that has been working on this very topic - the Psychologists Resource Strategy Committee. It is made up of stakeholders, different government departments, experts, psychologists, etc.
The committee has been working on ideas to recruit and retain more psychologists. Perhaps Minister Cardy should consult them on how to bring in and keep psychologists in the public sector.
Perhaps if Minister Cardy had brought his proposed amendment to the group, this mess could have been avoided, but the committee was never made aware of his plan or consulted.
This is the opposite of what happened in Prince Edward Island. The Minister of Education for PEI floated the same idea that Cardy is proposing. The PEI minister was told by experts the same thing Cardy is hearing. The PEI Minister decided it wasn’t a good plan and they successfully focused on recruitment and retention.
When a politician refuses to admit they are wrong – in the face of all the evidence – is how a problem gets compounded and made much worse.
Minister Cardy is heading full steam in this direction.