Statement from Minister Zach Churchill

NOTE: The following is a statement from Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill.

On Feb. 2 the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union chose to end its partnership on the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions.

I am disappointed. The council has achieved great progress on behalf of teachers and students in Nova Scotia.

The council’s work led directly to class caps being put in place sooner in junior and senior classes. We added 139 new teachers to our classrooms and now have class caps in all grades across the province.

We have for the first time ever, a provincewide attendance policy that principals tell us is already working to help improve student attendance and we’re finding ways for teachers to spend more time teaching our kids, and less time on paperwork.

The council is currently turning its attention to an assessment and evaluation policy that will help deal with deadlines, marking and simplifying report cards.

I am concerned about lost opportunities to make things better for our teachers and students. The council is a venue by which we can hear from teachers directly. The council was allocated $20 million in funds and has $9.8 million remaining to spend in 2018-19. We want to work with council members to spend those dollars to improve our classrooms.

The purpose of the council is to have direct partnership between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and teachers so that we could more effectively deal with issues that teachers said were barriers to teaching.

We want to work with our partners. Our shared goal is to make things better for our students.

We have truly great representatives on the council – all of whom are 100 per cent committed to improving classroom conditions for teachers and students. On behalf of government, I want to extend my hand in partnership to classroom teachers across this province. We remain committed to the goals of the council, on behalf of teachers and students.