Committee tasked with improving N.S. classrooms to present report to government
Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017 7:43PM ADT
The 14 people given the task of improving Nova Scotia classroom conditions are meeting for three days this week as they prepare to present an interim report to government, as mandated by the law that imposes a contract on the Nova Scotia Teachers Union.
The deadline is set out in Bill 75, the legislation that ensures the council has $10 million a year to work with, and the same bill that imposed a controversial contract on 9,300 public school teachers.
“We all have avenues set up for us to communicate with the teachers in our boards, so we've heard new concerns, we've heard positive feedback,” says teacher and committee member Sean Barker.
The council has 10 priority areas to work on and a two-year mandate. But the council members are clear they won't be able to tackle every issue in this preliminary report.
“I feel optimistic that we will see some change in September,” Baker says. “There are some bigger, some deeper issues that are going to take longer.”
While teachers and the government are working together behind closed doors, the tensions that led to that drawn-out public dispute are still simmering.
The union is running what amounts to an election-style ad, calling on Nova Scotians to "Elect a government that will make kids a priority."
Union president Liette Doucet says in a statement the ad is running because, "For the first time in 122 years Nova Scotia teachers held a province-wide strike because this government wasn¹t willing to do what was required to improve classroom conditions. "
“The very day that the members of the union are actually meeting with government to actually solve the problems that classroom teachers talked about, the union is running an ad contradicting that,” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.
For the 14 committee volunteers, the focus now is on making things better in their classrooms. The council will report to government April 28, with more meetings set for May and June.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie.