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11 recommendations promising to fix N.B.’s anglophone education system to take years to implement

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It’s another report aimed at fixing New Brunswick’s education system that’s been in the spotlight all year for the challenges it’s facing.

The report stems from a steering committee sparked by consultations that happened in the winter when the province attempted to change the system’s French immersion program.

That plan was scrapped, but instead the committee made short-term and long-term recommendations with a goal of finally addressing longstanding issues.

The long-term recommendations were released Thursday, with a promise from Education Minister Bill Hogan to address them all, while recognising that could take years.

New Brunswick Teachers Association executive director Ardith Shirley – a former teacher and principal – said she’s hopeful this time, this report will actually stick.

“Do we have the momentum in New Brunswick to take that and keep that path forward to actually see them come to fruition? And that's the part that I think might be different this time, or at least I would hope will be different,” she said.

Some of the 11 recommendations include:

  • Address chronic absenteeism with a province-wide action plan
  • Develop a new classroom composition model
  • Establish a plan to strengthen French language learning
  • See K-8 students get 30 minutes of physical education daily
  • Improve recruitment and retention of teachers

Hogan said there is a maximum of 21-29 students in a classroom, in accordance with the teachers’ collective agreement. But, he feels there are ways classroom composition could be improved while adhering to the agreement.

“There are areas where we can reduce the number of students that have higher needs and give them greater support in a class where we could put students that have lesser needs and can achieve better academically in a larger class,” he said.

He welcomes a deadline, as part of these recommendations, of March 31, 2024, to come up with an outline on how these improvements will actually happen.

The report states the recommendations “will take some years to implement.”

“Budget and resource impacts will need to be considered and, in some cases, working with partners to consider policy, regulation and collective agreement implications will be necessary…,” it states.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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