Schools

NSTU quits council over province’s response to Glaze report

Education Minister Zach Churchill says he's disappointed with union's decision

The NSTU says some of Glaze’s recommendations impact the council’s work.   Rowan Morrissy

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union says it will no longer sit on the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions. The reason for that decision is that the province didn’t consult it before releasing nor implementing the Glaze report.

NSTU president Liette Doucet said in a news release Friday that by implementing the report’s recommendations, the government will bring “division and distraction” to the education system.

“Had the government lived up to its obligation to the Council, it would have learned that pushing forward with these changes is not in the best interests of students,” she said.

In a statement released not long after, Education Minister Zach Churchill expressed his disappointment about the NSTU’s decision. He said he’s concerned about lost opportunities to make things better for parents and teachers.

“The purpose of the council is to have direct partnership between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and teachers, so that we could more effectively deal with issues that teachers said were barriers to teaching,” said Churchill.

The Glaze report, released Jan. 23, is a review of Nova Scotia’s education administrative system. It features 22 recommendations, including the elimination of elected school boards, removing principals and vice-principals from the NSTU, and creating a College of Educators.

On Jan. 24, Churchill announced that he accepted the “spirit” of the recommendations and that the government would implement 11 of them immediately, including the three mentioned above.

The Council to Improve the Classroom Conditions is a committee formed by nine teachers, a parent, a student and a guidance counsellor. Their role is to address issues brought up by teachers, such as assessment and evaluation, class sizes and the student discipline policy.

The council was created last year, following the adoption of Bill 75 that imposed a four-year contract on teachers. It was implemented as a way to make peace with teachers and allow them to share their expertise.

The education deputy minister acts as chair of the council. The NSTU’s executive director, Joan Ling, was sitting as co-chair up until Friday.