Monday, 20 May 2019

NSTU president Paul Wozney: “Nova Scotians are tired of the petty political battle that has overwhelmed our education system and demoralized teachers. It’s time to change the narrative and begin a constructive conversation about what needs to be done to make Nova Scotia Canada’s leader in delivering quality public education.”

Teachers Union president Paul Wozney is not impressed with the first meeting of the government-appointed Provincial Advisory Council on Education (PACE). Presented as somewhat of a a replacement for disbanded school boards, it turns out PACE’s ‘meetings will not be public, and based on the sparse minutes of its first meeting the government intends to limit any actual influence the group can have on its decision making process and sweeping power over public schools.

Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Paul Wozney writes on the intricacies of reporting on class size caps, and offers suggestions on improving transparency in terms of that important issue. “Now that elected school boards are gone, it’s imperative that parents are armed with the knowledge they need to advocate on behalf of their children. They must have the facts so they can hold the government directly accountable and ensure commitments that impact their children are met,” writes Wozney.

The provincial government is engaged in an orchestrated effort to move education jobs out of the union sphere. 1000 school principals, 200 or more school psychologists and speech and language pathologists, social workers and new positions in the expanding Schools Plus program will no longer be unionized. “While this may be a less sensational way of weakening the unions than, say, imposing wage freezes and concessions that force teachers and other education workers out onto the picket line, it poses no less a threat to their very existence,” writes John McCracken.

NSTU president Paul Wozney on this year’s chaotic start of school: “It’s important to set a few things straight. First and foremost, contrary to what Minister Churchill has said, not having proper bus service in place for students to start the school year is not par for the course. Nor is having dozens of support and specialist positions left unfilled at this juncture, for that matter. This dysfunction is far from business as usual, and it would appear the government’s elimination of school boards has led to a great deal of confusion and turmoil within the system.”

News release: The NSTU is concerned that government has unilaterally dropped the Commission on Inclusive Education’s recommendation to create an Institute of Inclusive Education designed to “provide oversight.”he mandate of the Institute would have given oversight powers to parents of students with special needs, teachers, school administrators, the government, university education programs, and members of the Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian Communities. Instead, those powers will now be given to a lone person appointed by the province.”

Paul Wozney: “The call for a collaborative working relationship by the government has been heard. Teachers have established a new corps of leaders who are prepared to forge a new, dynamic partnership. All that remains to be seen is whether the Liberals’ call for a fresh start is authentic or whether their talking points continue to hide a disdain for the rights for teachers and public education.”

NSTU president Paul Wozney: “As August ticks towards September, Nova Scotians would be wise to remember that 2018-2019 is yet another year of system-wide uncertainty in public schools where the truly vulnerable are not only students and teachers. For the first time, with no end in sight, administrators are squarely in the crosshairs of ill-planned change that put them, schools and quality of education at risk.”