Nova Scotia

N.S. teachers slam Dexter's education cuts

Hundreds of Nova Scotia teachers are meeting in Halifax this weekend to discuss the Dexter government's cuts to education, along with other issues.
Hundreds of teachers are meeting in Halifax this weekend. (CBC)

Hundreds of Nova Scotia teachers are meeting in Halifax this weekend to discuss the Dexter government's cuts to education, along with other issues.

The Nova Scotia Teachers' Union started its 91st Annual Council Friday.

Many teachers expressed concerns about limiting the number of students per class and cuts to education across the province. One of the main resolutions to be discussed directly addresses the cuts:

"Be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Teachers Union condemn the provincial government for its failure to understand the increasingly complex and diverse nature of today's classrooms as well its failure to recognize the progressive and professional contribution to education in Nova Scotia provided by the Nova Scotia Teachers Union."

Teachers say cuts will hurt students

Liette Doucet, a Grade 6 teacher at Fairview Heights, wanted to start a debate about class sizes. Doucet said Premier Darrell Dexter's government hasn't considered the negative impact bigger classes would have on students.

"They're not taking into consideration students that are on individual program plans, students who have come from away [and are] just learning English as a second, third or fourth language," Duocet said. "It becomes a matter of trying to teach eight or nine almost different curriculums." 

The union says by the time students go back to school in September, more than $65 million will have been slashed from the education budget.

"Education is not a bargain item. You have to provide adequate funding to maintain the current high standards that we have," said primary teacher Alison MacPherson.

Province investing $1 billion in education

The province said it is in touch with the needs of students. In an email to CBC News, Department of Education spokesman Peter McLaughlin said it has invested more than $1 billion in education this year.

"We launched our plan for education in February, Kids and Learning First. In it, we are making $6.7 million in strategic investments: doubling skilled trades in schools, tripling enrolment in the virtual school and expanding support services to families through Schools Plus," he said.

"We are also developing a new math curriculum, a review of grade 9, expanded co-op education, testing students earlier so we identify problems and provide help earlier, and making sure we match teacher expertise with subjects taught, to name a few."

McLaughlin said the government wants to keep class sizes small, but to also be fiscally responsible during a time of "severe enrolment decline" in the school system.

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