Dear NSGEU members working in provincial school boards,
As you may be aware, the government released its report on Inclusive Education, Inclusive Education Commission Report, on March 26.
Unfortunately, we were not consulted during the research or writing of this report and are frankly a bit amazed that a report on inclusive education can be authored without consulting those who have been working on the front lines in the education system supporting students so they can stay in the classroom. However, we strongly agree with the inclusive education principle and we hope that our voices will be included on a go-forward basis.
We have sent a letter to the Minister of Education, Zach Churchill, laying out the roles many of our members play in student education and asking to be included in consultations as they move forward. Here is the letter we have sent to the Minster:
Dear Minister Churchill,
I am writing regarding the Inclusive Education Commission Report released on March 26, 2018. The NSGEU represents Educational Assistants (CCRSB & AVRSB) , Les aides-enseignants (CSAP), Student Support Workers and Native Student Advisors. I am pleased that the report recognises the important role NSGEU members undertake in providing a student-centred approach to education and an inclusive classroom model that works. However, many of the recommendations are raising concerns amongst my members namely around possible new training prerequisites and continuing education.
Creating a new model for inclusive classrooms in Nova Scotia is ground breaking and will set the framework for years to come. I fully agree with your statement that the report is thoughtful, comprehensive and a clear demonstration that the members of the commission were committed to finding an inclusive model that puts students first. However, I think it would be very beneficial for the Department to sit down with Educational Assistants and Teaching Assistants as you and your staff review the report to allow them to have direct input in developing next steps. These front-line workers deserve to have the opportunity to provide input, considering that they have been completely left out of the process to date
I would ask you not to forget Educational Assistants, Les aides-enseignants, Student Support Workers, Native Student Advisors in your ongoing discussions with the stakeholders you have identified – “the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and in government, Special Education Programs and Services Committee, superintendents, principals and the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions to identify next steps.” My members are eager, ready and willing to be included in your list of “partners”.
Tammy Gillis NSGEU Third Vice President
On Behalf of
President Jason MacLean