building a modern, successful education system, op-ed

In just three weeks, we will mark the first anniversary for our five-year education action plan, The 3RS: Renew, Refocus and Rebuild – Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education.

Each and every initiative is focused on increasing student achievement and success.

I believe our education plan is unique as it is the result of an extensive consultation with Nova Scotians.

More than 19,000 people told us what they want to see in a modern public education system. More than 4,000 teachers told us about their key concerns. We listened and are responding.

Every decision we make at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is focused on investing in and improving the learning and teaching environment that benefits both teachers and students.

Decisions are informed by what we are hearing from teachers, school boards, parents, students and others along with evidence-based research.

I have met with and listened to the concerns of hundreds of teachers, and I am committed to continuing our response to those concerns.

Teachers have told me that the challenges they face are greater than ever. Class sizes, complex student needs and the curriculum are among their top concerns.

I understand the complexities and concerns they are facing.

That is why we introduced a new approach to developing curriculum. It is designed to ensure curriculum is continuously updated and streamlined to reflect modern trends in education. Grades primary to 3 curriculum has already changed and 4 to 12 will be streamlined over the next few years.

Elementary class sizes have been capped, and more support has been provided in the classroom.

We are funding 381 more teachers, expanded SchoolsPlus, added more mental health clinicians, and invested an additional $1.5 million in the Special Needs Support Grant. We will meet our commitment to reinvest a total of $65 million into the classroom.

We have made a great deal of progress to date in large part thanks to the hundreds of teachers who have worked with us on committees and professional development sessions to bring change to the classroom. We fully appreciate that there is more work to do.

Building a modern, successful public education system will require us to continue working with our teachers and partners. Together, we can help ensure today’s students are better prepared to lead productive lives in our ever-changing world.

Nova Scotia’s future success depends upon it.

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