PCs, Liberals vow to remove politics from education

The return to school brought a series of education-related announcements from the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals on Tuesday morning with both parties committing to long-term planning.

First day of school brings education promises from David Alward and Brian Gallant

Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward meets a group of children from the College Hill Daycare in Fredericton on Tuesday. (CBC)

The return to school brought a series of education-related announcements from the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals on Tuesday morning with both parties promising to reduce the influence politicians have over the system.

Liberal Leader Brian Gallant released his education platform in Moncton on Monday, where he underscored his belief in removing politics from the education system.

"For too long, the priorities in our education system have been flipped upside down every time the government has changed," Gallant said in a statement.

"We need to take the politics out of this and sit down with educators, parents, students, and stakeholders to build an action plan to improve our education system.

The Liberal leader said he wanted to have a 10-year education plan, which would give stability to the system. He also said he would create invite representatives from other political parties to help develop the province’s 10-year education plan.

The idea of adding these voices to the development of education plan is to ensure the policies continued despite whatever party formed future governments, according to the Liberals.

In Fredericton, Progressive Conservative Leader David Alward echoed the same theme of limiting political influence over the education system.

The Tory leader said education policy should be directed by research and shielded from “political interference.”

“This is an approach that transcends politics and includes sound curriculum development policies, engagement from parents, educators, District Education Councils and researchers,” said Alward.

Alward said politicians have no role in “day-to-day or year-to-year” decisions that impact New Brunswick classrooms.

While the two parties were able to agree on the need to keep politicians from meddling in education issues, the rest of their education announcements were very different.

Alward highlighted existing partnerships, with organizations such as Brilliant Labs and Science East, or “advancing work on the Linguistic and Cultural Development Policy.”

The Tory education statement did not offer any other specific policies.

By comparison, Gallant committed to overarching goals such as improving literacy and numeracy scores as well as specific policies, such as “encouraging the early adoption of learning and teaching technologies and related coding,” and giving students greater access to the trades.

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