May 27th, 2019

Op-Ed: Liberal changes to education hasty and poorly planned

By: Claudia Chender, NDP Education Spokesperson

Since I was elected two years ago, hardly a week has gone by without significant changes in the education landscape: the introduction of pre-primary, the Glaze Report, the elimination of English language school boards, the report on Inclusive Education, and now the daily fallout coming from the implementation of these changes.

In every case, the response from the Liberals to real problems has been hasty and poorly planned, and has reduced transparency, dialogue, and ultimately public trust in the system.

Prior to 2017, school boards functioned as transparent, elected bodies.

When changes are made to funding for an educational program like Early Literacy Support or Options to Opportunities we could consult with the elected local board.

Now, parents, teachers, and journalists are left to crowdsource the information from educators, principals and SAC members. None of whom, I might add, have been consulted on these changes by Minister Churchill.

And in response? We get spin. When the Minister says things like, the Options to Opportunities program will continue, or literacy support spending has not decreased, it does a disservice to the public’s intelligence in the face of clear evidence of cuts in their schools.

The Liberals’ decision not to establish an independent body to oversee inclusion efforts, or hire a Director of Inclusive Education continues this pattern of spin over transparency.

The government is making choices. I can only assume they think those choices are good. They owe it to Nova Scotians to explain them, even (and especially) the unpopular ones.

Claudia Chender is the MLA Dartmouth South and NDP Education Spokesperson