May 14th, 2018

Changes to school based specialists will hurt students

HALIFAX – The Liberals’ decisions to remove art teachers from classrooms and reduce guidance counsellor assignments at many schools are the wrong choices for Nova Scotia students. Teachers, parents, and students throughout the province have been calling on the government to improve services for students.

“By standardizing services across the board, the Liberals are moving to the lowest common denominator, rather than extending needed services to all schools,” said NDP Education spokesperson Claudia Chender. “The Department and the Minister of Education have said time and time again that these changes are based on a formula to better serve students but subtracting resources from schools doesn’t make sense.”

Guidance counsellors’ time is reportedly being cut at many schools in the Halifax Regional Municipality, leaving counsellors with even larger caseloads. The Halifax Regional Centre for Education has confirmed that all art teachers will become specialists instead of in-classroom teachers assigned to specific schools.

“Art class is where children begin to develop their interests in the arts, but also their skills in critical thinking, observation, and creativity,” said Susan Leblanc, NDP spokesperson for Communities, Culture and Heritage. “We should be offering students more opportunities to explore these skills through the practice of creation, not taking away that opportunity.”

The Liberal government eliminated the seven English School Boards in Nova Scotia this spring. In the past, these elected boards would have been responsible for staffing changes.

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