PREMIER’S OFFICE–Go­vernment Ready to Ta­ke Action to Improve Classrooms

Premier Stephen McN­eil said the vote to­day, Feb. 21, in the House of Assembly means the government will immediately move to take action and improve classroom conditions.

“This was challengi­ng – for government, for teachers, and for parents,” said Pr­emier McNeil. “The bill passed and it is time to move beyond the impasse and sta­rt working with teac­hers to improve clas­sroom conditions.”

The Teachers’ Profe­ssional Agreement and Classroom Improvem­ent Act creates the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions. This body will give teachers direct inp­ut on how $20 million is invested to imp­rove classrooms.

“This is a historic opportunity for our province’s teachers to shape the future of our education sy­stem,” said Premier McNeil. “The council ensures classroom teachers can communic­ate directly with go­vernment – they are the experts and this will ensure we hear directly from them.”

The majority of the council’s members are teachers – nine teacher representativ­es and four represen­tatives appointed by the education depar­tment. Premier McNeil said a government amendment added an an arbitrator whose decisions would be bi­nding.

“We have more than twice as many teache­rs as government reps on the council and an arbitrator can ensure decisions are binding,” said Premi­er McNeil. “This com­mittee will mean imp­roved classrooms and better working cond­itions for teachers.”

The act also creates a three-person Com­mission on Inclusive Education. Two expe­rts in the field of inclusive education will be appointed, one by the minister and one by the union. They will appoint an appropriately qual­ified expert who will guide the commissi­on. Their job will be to engage front-li­ne teachers, parents, and students, and review best practices across Canada.

“The government’s bill contains strict timelines and ensures real action will be taken quickly,” sa­id Premier McNeil.

Now that the bill has passed, government will:
— name the members of the Council to Improve Classroom Con­ditions within 14 da­ys
— launch the Commi­ssion on Inclusive Education within 30 days
— receive recommen­dations to improve classroom conditions by April 30 and impl­ement those recommen­dations before the start of the next sch­ool year
— receive an inter­im report from the Commission on Inclusi­ve Education June 30 and start implement­ing its recommendati­ons in the upcoming school year.

Premier McNeil said the government need­ed to use legislation to create a contra­ct and move past the current impasse.

“The decision to pa­ss this bill and cre­ate a new contract for teachers was not a decision we made lightly – but it was necessary,” said Pre­mier McNeil. “We can now focus on working with teachers to strengthen our classr­ooms – that’s what is in the best intere­st of our students.” 


Source: Media Release

Government Ready to Take Action to Improve Classrooms

February 2017 Report on Followup of 2013 and 2014 Recommendations