KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – About 150 teachers rallied at Sackville-Beaverbank MLA Stephen Gough’s constituency office on Sackville Drive this afternoon. Many drivers honked in support of the teachers.
It was one of 15 or so rallies reportedly occurring this afternoon in the province.
The teachers, all members of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU), have lost confidence in a government that has ignored their demands for better working conditions, more money for education at a classroom level, and a fair contract.
News that talks between the government and the union had broken down had not yet reached the protesters. The union will be in a legal strike position on December 3rd.
This rallying and picketing business clearly was new to most of the teachers.
“For us this is not a comfortable position,” explained one of the protesters. “We would much rather be in the classrooms with our students. We usually are advocates for everybody else, so this is a very hard position to be in.”
Maybe not comfortable, but very necessary, she added.
“We’re very fed up, we’re not being listened to, classrooms are in terrible shape and, and kids aren’t being prepared to become functioning members of society,” she said.
Once the teachers reached the constituency office, Paul Wozney, a member of the executive of the Halifax County Local of the NSTU, addressed the crowd.
“We are the witnesses that education is no longer working. We are stuck with the bill, we have been asked to make a cadillac education out of a chevvy budget,”said Wozney.
“We need funding that makes classrooms work. We need material resources, we need WiFi that works more than 20 % of the day, and we need time with students to help them succeed.”
Towards the end of the rally MLA Stephen Gough came out to talk with the crowd.
He had met with the Premier to relay what the teachers had told him earlier, he said.
That’s not good enough, responded one of the teachers. Clearly McNeil isn’t listening. You must speak up, and let him know that you no longer have confidence in him.
“I have faith in my leader,” Gough responded.
Check out the Facebook page of the Nova Scotia Parents for Teachers. It is comprised of parents and grandparents of students in the public school system and supports teachers in the current dispute between the Teachers Union and the provincial government.
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