Nova Scotia principals to get a year to decide status with union: minister
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia public school principals and vice-principals will be given a year to choose between losing their union membership or returning to classroom teaching and remaining in the union.
Education Minister Zach Churchill announced the step Thursday as he continued a provincial tour to discuss education reforms arising from a report released last month by consultant Avis Glaze.
Churchill said he has been meeting with superintendents, teachers, principals, and parents, along with other representatives of school advisory councils.
"There has been good discussion with principals around removing principals and vice-principals from their union," he said in a statement. "This will give them more time to consider their options before they make this important decision."
The announcement comes after the union said it would hold a strike vote next Tuesday as it combats the removal of about 1,000 of its members.
Churchill has said administrators can face a conflict of interest when supervising staff while also receiving directives from their union.
Union president Liette Doucet said Churchill's announcement does nothing to change the union's position.
"The government needs to halt the implementation of the Glaze report, and collaborate with teachers, students and parents to help create meaningful change in our schools," Doucet said in a statement.
She said the union has been hosting its own community meetings for the past two weeks.
"It is clear from these discussions that the public is not comfortable with the government's implementation of the Glaze report," said Doucet.
Legislation enacting many of Glaze's reform recommendations is expected in a legislature session that begins Feb. 27.
Her report makes 22 recommendations including elimination of the province's seven English-language school boards and creation of a provincial college of educators to license and regulate the profession.
Churchill said a recommended student progress assessment office was also raised in talks with teachers this week, even though the government said no change is imminent.
"I want to reassure teachers that any changes involving student assessment will not be part of the spring legislation," he said. "We will continue to talk to and listen to teachers while we determine how to address this recommendation."