New Brunswick

Province reshuffles 70 lead positions in anglophone school sector

The province has decided to "re-deploy" 70 lead positions across all four anglophone school districts, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Education. 

10 of those positions include diversity and respect coaches at some New Brunswick schools

New Brunswick's Department of Educations is cutting at least 70 lead position across the anglophone districts for the upcoming school year. (Kevin Mulcahy/Shutterstock )

The province has decided to "re-deploy" 70 lead positions across all four anglophone school districts, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Education. 

The changes include the elimination of 10 diversity and respect coaches who work in the education system. They're responsible for coaching teachers and school teams about how to be more respectful and inclusive of marginalized students.

"Having appropriate resources available and in place is crucial for ensuring student success and addressing classroom composition challenges," said Tara Chislett in an emailed statement to CBC News on Friday.

"This is why the anglophone sector has decided to re-deploy some educators who are currently serving at the district level in various lead positions."

The diversity and respect positions were created by the Liberal government back in 2016 and 2017. 

Educators aren't being laid off 

The province hasn't said what other positions will be eliminated and whether these changes are related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"No educators are being laid off as a result of this change, however some will be changing roles within the system to work more closely with students and staff at the school level," Chislett said.

Students and staff and educators have to feel safe in school.- Gail Costello, co-chair of the Pride in Education Committee 

CBC News has asked for an interview with someone with the province and is waiting for a response. 

With the current redeployment to schools, Chislett said there are still about 150 full-time equivalent subject lead positions within the districts.

The province closed schools March 13 to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and online learning sessions were eventually established.

Putting marginalized students at greater risk

Gail Costello is the co-chair of the Pride in Education Committee, a volunteer provincial committee started by teachers worried about the well-being and safety of sexual and gender minority students in New Brunswick.

Costello said the cuts will put marginalized students at risk and make it more likely they will be left behind.

"With everything that's going on in the world and what has been rising up over the past four, five, six years, I question that decision."

Costello said it's not a good look for the province to cut these positions, especially given why they were created in the first place.

Gail Costello, co-chair of the Pride in Education Committee, said cutting diversity and respect coaches will put marginalized students at risk. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"What they were saying when they created these positions was that, 'We see the issues, we recognize that there's issues out there in the education system. And that we want to address this,'" said Costello.

"What does it say about cutting it? I guess the opposite of all of that."

Costello said she understands why some people may not think the cuts are a big deal, or that money could be better spent in other areas of New Brunswick's education system. But she feels these positions are important.

"We have to educate our youth to be good citizens to teach respect and celebrate diversity," she said. 

"Students and staff and educators have to feel safe in schools."

About the Author

Elizabeth Fraser

Reporter/Editor

Elizabeth Fraser is a reporter/editor with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. She's originally from Manitoba. Story tip? elizabeth.fraser@cbc.ca

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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