Check-in, February 5th, 2018

Good morning County.

Almost two weeks have passed since the Glaze report was released on a rather unsuspecting Nova Scotia. Not surprisingly, considering how busy teachers are, it has taken a few days for everyone to wrap their heads around the potential implications this report has to, once again, create turmoil in our system. But if social media platforms are any indication, the idea seems to have caught on.

As I mentioned last week, there are elements of the report that may appeal to individual teachers, and I, myself have found a few ideas I actually agree with within its pages. However, when I examine the report as a whole, I can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that there are elements of the report that are wrong.

Not just things I fundamentally disagree with, but items that are actually, factually wrong. And this is a big distinction for me. I have always held firm to the belief, and have taught my students, that just because two sides disagree, it does not mean one of them is wrong.  But considering the sweeping changes proposed by Glaze, even one error is too many.

You can’t build a solid house on a shaky foundation. And when it comes to this particular house, it contains some pretty important occupants.

That is not to diminish the things I disagree with, for sure. As local president, I think I am in a unique position to comment on some of Glaze’s recommendations, particularly around teacher discipline and the relationship between administrators and staff. A considerable part of my job is navigating the issues that arise when that relationship goes sour, and I am here to tell you, I don’t see the removal of administrators from the union as making navigating that any easier.

Avis Glaze is fond of repeating emotionally charged phrases like “Our children can not wait” (the title of her book), and that phrasing is hard to disagree with. However, even if one accepts that our children are educationally drowning (which I do not) it will do little good to throw them an anchor. While adults fight over the details of this document, focus will be drawn unnecessarily away from where it is most urgently required. The potential of this document to result in positive changes for our kids versus the resources it will demand deserves more consideration than it is currently receiving.

I am going to continue to fight against this report and all its recommendations, even the ones I agree with. It is a fundamentally flawed document, based on supposition rather than research, and I can simply not get past that. We know too much and have come too far in our efforts to improve our classrooms to be derailed by such a report.

There are a number of regional information sessions coming up in the next few days to examine the impacts of the Glaze report, and I would suggest with some urgency that all members attend at least one of the sessions.

In other news, the HRSB has alerted the NSTU that the calculations of your service award will be sent out through your HRSB web mail. If all goes well, you should receive your calculations within the next few days. As well, we received clarification that the HRSB has NOT sent out a blanket statement for administrators to refuse all unpaid leaves. These requests must still be considered, however, approval still remains in the hands of the employer. HRSB has also given notice that the more stringent requirements for granting unpaid leaves will be continuing until the end of the school year.

Please monitor your NSTU email closely over the coming weeks.




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