And away we go!
Hot on the heels of the release last week of recommendations from the Council to Improve Classroom Conditions and after a boatload of spending announcements, the Premier has dropped the writ and called an election for May 30th.
This really came as no surprise, and, indeed, if your neighbourhood is anything like mine, you may already have had a few door-knocks as candidates came a-callin’. Educationally speaking, this does stand to be an election of particular significance, with all parties undoubtedly making education a key focus. Certainly, we have seen some of that already during the pre-election posturing by all three major parties.
Last week, the NSTU sent out a guide to political engagement which gave members some advice on how to remain engaged in the political process and hold both candidates and incumbents accountable. Suggestions included such things as getting involved in a local campaign, continuing to raise concerns via both traditional and social media, and ensuring that tough questions about education continue to be asked of all who are seeking a seat in your home ridings. The key message is to ensure that you understand where each candidate stands on the issues of concern for teachers, and that each and every member get out on May 30th and vote for the candidate that they feel will best address those concerns.
Speaking of political engagement, I know that many of you expressed positive comments about the recent ad campaign that was launched by the NSTU concerning the upcoming election. According to the law of the land, now that the writ has been dropped, the NSTU must not engage in any action that can be seen as influencing the election. Thus, the ads will no longer be running, and the ActforEducation website has been shut down (Unsure if this is permanent or not). It is my understanding that this is not the provincial NSTU making a decision, but is rather an action required by law. Not doing so could reportedly result in some pretty hefty consequences being levied against our Union.
This week also marks the countdown of the last few days before Annual Council, 2017. This year marks the 96th year that the event has been held, and for those of you who may not know, it is here where a great number of decisions are made that will influence the direction of the NSTU for the upcoming year. These decisions are based on suggestions which are taken from the members, and then turned into “resolutions” to be voted on during the sessions. County has a total of 14 resolutions going to council this year, and you can be sure that the debate will be lively and passionate.
I am starting to get many questions about the upcoming job postings, particularly from term teachers and those who are working towards their aggregate status. I would encourage anyone who is wondering about those issues to attend the economic welfare session on May 9th. Lots of great information and a chance to get your questions answered.
If you are looking to get more involved in your local, there are a number of positions coming up this year on the local executive. These positions require varying time commitments and come with a wide range of responsibilities, but they are a great way to get involved and learn more about how the NSTU works on the local, regional and provincial levels. Stay tuned for more details.
That’s it for this week folks. Watch out next week for highlights from Annual Council.