Today, the Nova Scotia Liberal government announced some significant changes to the way education is delivered in Nova Scotia. At a press conference this afternoon Education Minister Zach Churchill said his government will:
- unify the system by dissolving the seven elected regional school boards and create one provincial advisory council. The structure of the Conseil Scolaire Acadien Provincial will not change;
- a portion of the money saved will go to enhance the role and influence of school advisory councils for all schools (or families of schools) in the province to strengthen the local voice in schools;
- change the name of superintendents to regional executive directors and enhance their role to focus on student achievement, reporting directly to the deputy minister of Education and Early Childhood Development;
- move principals and vice-principals from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, while protecting salaries, pensions and benefits;
- move teaching support specialists (literacy leads, math mentors) out of regional education offices and into classrooms four days a week, with the fifth day dedicated to planning and preparation; and
- create an independent Provincial College of Educators.
At this point in time we are left with more questions than answers. On a conference call today with the Department of Education NSGEU President Jason MacLean and NSGEU Executive Director Robin MacLean pressed the Department of Education on some basic answers, such as: Who is the new employer? What is the situation with bargaining currently underway with various boards? When will the changes take effect? The NSGEU was told the department could provide no answers or specific details at this time.
The NSGEU stands in solidarity with the NSTU and other impacted unions. The NSGEU was not consulted or offered opportunity to provide input into the development of these changes. We remain committed to holding this government accountable for their actions and get answers our members deserve. As information becomes available we will share it with you.