Province working with teachers on new standards: minister

Government intends to consult with school boards and universities

Education minister Karen Casey gives discusses annual report for Nova Scotia's Action Plan on Education
Education Minister Karen Casey: “The action plan must be in the best interest of our students”   Kathleen Munro

Teachers are taking an active role in the province’s plan to implement teaching standards, Education Minister Karen Casey said today.

“Teachers are welcoming this,” said Casey. “Any standards that we set will be met or exceeded.”

Casey introduced the province’s Action Plan on Education a year ago. That plan included the implementation of teaching standards as part of the government’s plan to “refocus, rebuild and renew the education system.” She promised in March that those standards would be set this year.

“I have consistently said that every step in the action plan must be in the best interest of our students and if there is a good idea, we will consider it. If something is not working, we will change it,” she said.

Casey’s news conference Thursday was a  progress update on the first year of the plan. She said the Department of Education and Early Child Development will work closely with teachers, school boards and universities to develop a new set of standards for teachers.

Once the foundation of standards has been set, the department is planning to collaborate with the Department of Labour and Advanced Education to update teacher education programs.

NSTU president Shelley Morse was unable to comment but said last year the union had agreed with some of the recommendations set out in the report and pledged to work with the department to ensure teachers’ voices were heard.

Education Minister Karen Casey speaks with a student after the conference.
Minister Karen Casey thanks Neha Katote for her participation in the “Hour of Code,” a program aimed at incorporating coding into the education system.   Kathleen Munro

From idea to implementation

Mike Henderson, a member of the Education Review Panel, said he is pleased with the progress that has been made so far but says there is still a long way to go.

“We talked about teaching standards and about the evaluation and appraisal process,” said Henderson. “Most people know there is a glut of teachers out there, so let’s get the best ones in front of the kids.”

Although Henderson is excited about the notion of new teaching standards, he says he is unsure of exactly how it will happen.

“It will definitely take some cooperation from the union, and there will be some touchy areas. But we’re glad it’s been identified (as an area in need of improvement).”

Casey says the department has been conducting a jurisdictional review of education systems in countries such as Australia, Singapore and some in Europe in order to research best practices.

A portion of the video shown during the conference can be seen below.

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