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Former N.B. education minister defends inclusion policy
New Brunswick’s former minister of education who officially introduced inclusion in schools is defending the policy after teachers expressed concerns about it.
The New Brunswick Teachers Association says the inclusion policy, which sees students of varying abilities and differences all studying together in one classroom, isn’t working and should be reviewed.
Guy Arseneault, president of the NBTA, says some teachers have been assaulted and disruptions are common as a result of inclusion.
“We have some teachers who have to wear safety clothes to be in schools and some of the classrooms,” he told CTV News Thursday.
Inclusion has been part of New Brunswick’s education system for 30 years and the association has been critical of both the Liberals and Tories for not providing enough support for having students of all abilities in the classroom.
Progressive Conservative MLA Jody Carr, the current education critic and former education minister, says the inclusion policy he ushered in three years ago isn’t being followed through by the current Liberal government.
“These are difficult times to be teachers in our classrooms,” says Carr. “Last year, we had 21 teacher inclusion facilitators that were completely cut by government and now we’re starting to see the impact of those cuts.”
He says the problem isn’t the policy itself, but rather the lack of resources and funding.
“And the lack of opportunity for teachers to have the training, the understanding, the planning, the flexibility that the policy is in place for,” says Carr.
Education Minister Serge Rouselle declined a request for an interview, but his department says he will address the issue soon.
Meanwhile, the NBTA says it would like to see a full review of the policy, with any changes implemented before the school year next fall.Wi
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore