Some local parents are questioning some of the reforms proposed for the education system. Bill 72 was introduced in the legislature last week by Education Minister Zach Churchill. Danielle Duggan, an Antigonish parent and concerned citizen, says she is particularly concerned about provisions to eliminate the province’s elected english language school boards. Duggan says there’s nothing in the legislation that enables local voice.
Duggan says Antigonish area parents are in a unique position to speak on the importance of a local voice, citing discussions last year when several potential school closures were contemplated. Duggan says the elected board members were instrumental in helping to make the right decision, after local residents strongly advocated for retaining the schools.
Promoters of the province’s Gaelic language and culture have added their voices to concerns over the recent report on reforming education by consultant Avis Glaze.
In a letter to Education Minister Zach Churchill, the Gaelic Council of Nova Scotia is worried that Gaelic Language and Culture was omitted from the report. What’s more, Council President David Rankin says to their knowledge, it doesn’t appear Gaelic educators were contacted in the preparation of the report.
Rankin says there’s an easy resolution to address their concerns.
Rankin says up to this point, the province has been supportive in enhancing the growth of Gaelic Language and Culture. As a result, Rankin is wondering how the Gaelic language was overlooked.
There was a demonstration in Antigonish Saturday afternoon over proposed changes to the education system. The protest march,
organized by a group of concerned parents and individuals, began at the Library and ended at the building housing Antigonish MLA Randy Delorey’s office. About 100 people took part in the protest.
One of the organizers of the demonstration, Nicole Baden-Clay says it’s concerned about the democratic processes that are being eroded away by some of the decisions that are taking place, including the removal of elected school boards. Baden-Clay says while there are some positives in the report by consultant Avis Glaze, it’s implementation by government is being made too quickly.
At the conclusion of the march, demonstrators left behind protest signs at the building entrance to Delorey’s office.
Nearly 83 percent of teachers from across Nova Scotia have voted in favour of illegal strike action, yet no action will be taken…yet. The Teachers’ Union President, Liette Doucet says that 93% of teachers voted Tuesday, but Doucet wants to have a meeting first:
She says if the union decides to take some kind of job action it will give parents enough notice to make alternate arrangements for their children, but she isn’t saying how much time that will be. The teachers’ union is not in a legal strike position, and Doucet said Wednesday they have not yet decided what form the strike action of its 9,300 members could take. Education Minister Zach Churchill says he wants to schedule further talks, but adds he has no interest in pausing reforms he wants in place by the fall.
Sweeping changes to education in the province mean the dissolving of school boards, and the Antigonish MLA says these changes are for the better of the students. Randy Delorey says that the changes are meant to improve student success, and he believes removing of the regional school boards will mean more resources will be put directly into the classrooms to help students.
Delorey says that he has an invested interest in these changes, and they impact him and his family directly:
Delorey says he understands that the topic of dissolving schools boards can be polarizing, but the long term benefits that come from it will make the education system better overall.
The Chair of the Strait Regional School Board, Jamie Samson, says he’s “deeply disappointed” the province will dissolve Nova Scotia’s seven elected English
Strait Regional School Board Chair Jamie Samson
speaking school boards. Samson says school boards have been strong advocates for their areas, so cutting them now doesn’t make sense.
Samson says school boards have been a valuable contributor to education. He says many of the recommendations made in the report by consultant Avis Glaze came from the boards, including an increased focus on Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian education.