New Brunswick

Education minister seeks public feedback on proposed school reforms

Education Minister Dominic Cardy is taking his green paper on tour to find out what people around the province think about education reforms.

Dominic Cardy will travel to different parts of the province starting this Thursday

Education Minister Dominic Cardy will be making eight stops on his tour. He will be making his first stop in Sackville on Thursday. (Joe McDonald/CBC)

Education Minister Dominic Cardy is taking his green paper on tour to find out what people around the province think about education reforms.

Cardy's green paper on education reform was published last fall. The 25-page document discusses eliminating grade levels, more use of artificial intelligence in the classroom, more partnerships with the private sector to boost education in the trades and the introduction of second-language programming in daycares.

"This can't be just politicians saying, 'We should do this,'" Cardy said. 

"It has to be a conversation with the public because it's their education system, their children and our province's future at stake with this."

The consultation sessions will give students, teachers, parents, school employees and community partners a chance to meet with Cardy and bring forward any concerns. 

Parents express concerns

Some of those concerns include the possibility of eliminating a grade system. 

Cardy admits parents have expressed concern over the elimination of a grade level system, which could negatively impact students with special needs. But Cardy says that won't happen. 

"I'll be reassuring folks that absolutely not, that's not the case. But I wouldn't be surprised if that comes up." 

He's also anticipating fielding questions about second-language training and French immersion in the province. This comes after the Telegraph-Journal released a report earlier this month, claiming Cardy planned to scrap French immersion. 

Cardy called the report inaccurate and said no other changes beyond those mentioned in the green paper are in the works. 

People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin was mentioned in the article saying he had been in secret talks with Cardy and Premier Blaine Higgs about doing away with the program. Cardy called Austin's comments "inaccurate" and "irresponsible." 

Cardy has not yet spoken with Austin about the debacle.

Upcoming consultation sessions

Public consultation sessions will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m in the following eight locations: 

  • Sackville at the Sackville Town Hall council chambers (in English) on Jan. 23
  • Edmundston at Cité des Jeunes A.-M.-Sormany (in French) on Jan. 29
  • Saint John at Harbour View High School (in English) on Feb. 4 
  • Riverview at Riverview High School (in English) on Feb. 5 
  • Moncton at École L'Odyssée (in French) on Feb. 6
  • Fredericton at Fredericton High School (in English) on Feb. 10
  • Miramichi at Miramichi Valley High School (in English) on Feb. 11
  • Tracadie at Polyvalente W.-Arthur-Losier (in French) on Feb. 12

Consultations will be rescheduled to Feb. 13, 18 or 19 if there is a storm. 

Cardy received overwhelming response from people who attended the three-day education summit held last fall.

Cardy also wants to hear from students. The fall summit took place during the work week and during school hours, making it difficult for students to attend.

"I'm open to listen to anyone." 

With files from Information Morning Fredericton


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