NSGEU: School Support Staff Play a Vital Role in Education and Should be Included in Government’s Action Plan.
Halifax – School Support staff play a vital role in a student’s education and should be heard, acknowledged, and included in government’s action plan.
“Overall, we were glad to see a review of the educational system and agree with many of the recommendations in the report, although we were disappointed to see no reference at all to the role of support staff and the valuable role they play in the educational team,” says Joan Jessome, President of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU).
Student Support staff were not recognized as stakeholders during the Educational Review process and are absent from the Report. The NSGEU asked to be included in the Partners Advisory Group and we asked to meet with the review panel and were turned down both times. Now the Minister has announced plans to meet with stakeholder groups and once again School Support staff are not included.
“Support staff are a critical link in our educational system,” continues Jessome. “They work as Educational Assistants/Student Support Workers, IT specialists, Secretaries and Administrative Personnel, Bus Drivers, Bus Monitors, Cafeteria, Custodial, and Library staff. “Their contribution to a student’s education should have been acknowledged in the report.”
The report indicates it has been 25 years since a comprehensive review of Nova Scotia’s school system. Much has changed in this time, including an increasing role for staff who support the classroom (i.e. in IT) and the student (i.e. as an Educational Assistant). The NSGEU represents 1,800 school support staff who work in every school board except in Cape Breton.
The NSGEU is also concerned with the approach government may take to restructuring school boards, given their approach to restructuring health care.
“We ask that government take an honest approach to restructuring the school board system that respects existing collective agreements and school board employees and does not legislate away labour rights in order to dictate their own terms,” says Jessome.
The NSGEU supports many of the recommendations in the report that will better prepare students for life after high school, including moving on to post-secondary education or into work-life.
“The recommendation to redesign the early elementary curriculum to focus on math and literacy is a perfect opportunity to restore funding for libraries in schools and bring librarians back. Librarians support students’ individual reading and research interests and help to instill a life-long love for reading and learning.”
The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represents over 30,000 women and men who provide quality public services Nova Scotians count on every day.
For more information or to arrange an interview with NSGEU President, Joan Jessome, please contact:
Deedee Slye, NSGEU Communications Officer
902.424.4063 (office) 902.497.6761 (cell) firstname.lastname@example.org
The complete report of the Panel can be viewed and downloaded at: