NOTE: The following is a joint statement from Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill and Liette Doucet, president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, in response to the release of the interim report by the Commission on Inclusive Education. The commission’s report is available at http://inclusiveedns.ca.
We welcome the interim report and thank the commission for its work so far. It is dealing with a complex issue in an area in which we know we can do better.
There are encouraging signs within the report. It’s clear the commission wants to dig deep and get to the heart of the issue.
The department will begin to act on all the recommendations immediately, including the following two actions initiated today.
The department has referred the request to review the funding formula, resource allocation processes and fiscal accountability measures for inclusive education to the auditor general.
Presidents of the universities offering education programs, have been asked to work with us, through the Bachelor of Education Review Working Group, to ensure the commission’s recommendations for enhanced teacher preparation on inclusive education are a priority.
The ministers of Health and Wellness, Community Services and Justice have been asked to immediately establish a team to complete work on recommendations regarding interdepartmental and interagency collaboration.
The NSTU feels that the current inclusive education model is not meeting the needs of students and their families and agrees with the conclusion that it needs to be replaced. It will review the interim report more thoroughly and looks forward to working with the commission in the development of a new model that will better meet the diverse learning needs of students.
The union is particularly encouraged that the commission is looking at examining caseloads and current ratios for staffing. Specialist teachers are in dire need of more supports and resources.
We are pleased the commission plans to speak with stakeholders this fall. It’s important all perspectives, and those potentially impacted by any future recommendations, are considered. Every parent wants their child to succeed, and that’s what our school system needs to support.
This is an opportunity to have the discussions we know are necessary and to work together in the best interest of all those in our classrooms.