HALIFAX, April 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The Nova Scotia Teachers Union is calling for Premier Darrell Dexter to immediately replace Education Minister Ramona Jennex.
"Education is not a priority for this minister, it's as simple as that," says NSTU president Alexis Allen. "Her department has cut $65 million from the education budget over the past two years at a time when Nova Scotia is already the second lowest in funding per pupil in Canada. These cuts will mean the loss of as many as 700 teaching positions. The Minister is supposed to be advocating for education, not destroying it."
"This is merely the latest in a series of devastating errors in judgment including raising the class size cap for Grades Primary to Grade 3. This year it went from 25 to 27, and next year it's going up again from 27 to 29. These grade levels are the most formative years in a child's educational journey and large class sizes are detrimental to the individual needs of our students."
Yesterday Allen says Jennex made another crucial error with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. That board was forced to cut 52 teaching positions and its librarians in an attempt to deal with cuts mandated by the NDP. After the board did what it was required to do to balance its budget, Jennex stepped in.
"Ramona Jennex is publicly interfering with the democratically elected school board," says Allen. "How did she think the board was going to deal with a massive funding cut without losing positions?"
Allen also says the minister is ignoring a strong public sentiment against her department's insistence to cut education. NSTU's kidsnotcuts petition now sits at more than 16,000 signatures of Nova Scotians who are demanding the restoration of full education funding.
"Jennex also continues to make statements about Nova Scotia education system that are not supported by facts. The province's students do as well or better than most other provinces on international tests," says Allen.
Alexis Allen is available for interviews and will be in the legislature gallery today for Question Period.
For further information:
Mary Jane Webber, NSTU Public Relations Coordinator
Telephone: 902-479-4708, Cell: 902-497-0194, Email: [email protected]