Trouble in education dominates week at legislature

The government cut educational assistants, announced an old-fashioned standardized testing regime and plans to have private consortiums operate schools. These are among the education changes the government has made without listening to teachers or parents.

The NDP put a spotlight on education during the week at the legislature, with NDP Leader Cam Broten continuing to make pre-K to Grade 12 education a top priority.

“Parents and teachers are working harder than ever to give our kids the best education and opportunity for every child to get ahead,” said Broten. “But, this government isn’t doing its part to support education. Instead, it’s throwing wrenches into classrooms like standardized testing, P3 privately-operated schools and moving away from having educational assistants help our kids.

“If this government listened to teachers and parents, they would hear the same thing I’m hearing: these changes don’t support teaching, don’t promote learning and aren’t what Saskatchewan families want.”

Despite crowded schools, bursting at the seams, the NDP pointed to 14 school divisions that have fewer educational assistants now than in 2007. Over just two years, the government cut the jobs of about 300 caring professionals who work one-on-one with students and help classrooms run smoothly so teachers can focus on teaching.

The NDP also tabled a P3 accountability and transparency bill, sponsored by deputy leader and teacher, Trent Wotherspoon. The NDP wants the government to build schools quicker and more cost-effectively by building them publicly, and opposes using P3s for schools. The P3s would see private consortiums operate schools with the government locked-in to decades-long lease contracts. But, since the government is stubbornly pushing ahead with P3 schools instead of building new schools itself, the NDP’s bill would make the deals more transparent and the terms more favorable for taxpayers.

Teachers have rejected the province-wide contract deal from the government as its relationship with teachers and schools grows worse. Broten and the NDP urged the government to improve the relationship now – and start by listening to the experts who know best: parents and teachers.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus
306-787-6349
emorrison@ndpcaucus.sk.ca