Churchill gives principals, vice-principals one year to make a decision

NSTU's position regarding report implementation stays the same

Province and NSTU disagree on the implementation of the Glaze report.   Annie Jolicoeur

Education Minister Zach Churchill says principals and vice-principals will have one year to decide if they stay in their current position or remain a member of their union.

“This will give them more time to consider their options before they make that important decision,” said Churchill in a statement released Thursday.

The announcement comes in the wake of the Glaze report. One of the recommendations was to remove the principals and vice-principals from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, which Churchill has promised to implement.

He said the decision to allow a year of reflection was taken after discussing with principals from around the province about their removal from the NSTU.

The NSTU has spoken out against this recommendation since it was released Jan. 23. The report also called for the elimination of the seven English-speaking elected school boards.

In response to Churchill, Liette Doucet, NSTU president, said Thursday her organization’s position regarding the report and the province’s decision remains the same.

“While it is positive the Minister is willing to keep the lines of communications open, it is unfortunate he is still not open to doing the proper thing for our education system,” she said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the NSTU said many principals and vice-principals would step down and return to the classroom as teachers to protest the Glaze report.

Also on Tuesday, the NSTU announced it would hold a strike vote on Feb. 20. A vote in favour wouldn’t guarantee a strike, but would allow the NSTU to take some kind of job action.

Any job action taken by the NSTU would be illegal, since the teachers are under contract until July 31, 2019, explained Heather Fairbairn, spokesperson for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Churchill also mentioned in Thursday’s statement that “any changes involving student assessment will not be part of the spring legislation.”

He said this issue was raised by teachers during his week of travelling around the province meeting with people affected by the implementation of the Glaze report.