With less than two weeks before the education summit, the Minister of Education released a green paper outlining multiple changes he will be making to the education system, some of which will be coming into effect within the year.
“Normally a green paper is a discussion paper, but as usual this impulsive minister has already established that some of these action items will be taking place.” said education critic Chuck Chiasson. “I would like to know what consultation was done with experts in education while this plan was being drafted. The presidents of the NBTA and the AEFNB have both confirmed that they were not consulted, so who did the Minister consult?”
One of the largest changes Minister Cardy plans on making is the elimination of the age-based grade system from Kindergarten to second grade as of September 2020 in exchange for flexible learning environments based on skill level.
“This is a big change to push through in under a year,” said Chiasson. “How will this affect classroom composition and inclusion, will this result in a reduction in teaching positions, how will we ensure that the classrooms have the resources needed to ensure that every child has the hands on help they need?”
The previous liberal government implemented a 10-year education plan in order to ensure stability within the system.
“Teachers have consistently asked for stability yet successive governments have continued making big changes and creating chaos within the system and in the classrooms.” said Chiasson “We need to learn more about the system he is suggesting, but it has a very real potential for chaos.”
In one section the paper states that our education system is sliding towards a crisis, yet in the very next section it speaks of how well we compare to some of the top educational jurisdictions in the world such as the US and Germany.
“Yes, our education system is facing some serious challenges, the most serious being the lack of resources to support our inclusion policies,” said Chiasson. “There is no mention of how this will be addressed in Mr Cardy’s green paper.”
Many other legislative items can be found within the green paper, all without details on how these proposals will be implemented and if there is a cost associated with them.
“There are some specific proposals here about legislation that it would be impossible to comment on without the details.” Says Chiasson. “Many of these ideas are not new. Empowering teachers, engaging parents and communities, finding a path forward to better outcomes for our students are goals we all share.”