Speak out for Saskatchewan's K-12 education system before it's too late
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The Government of Saskatchewan is considering drastic changes to the K-12 education system, including replacing democratically elected and accountable school boards with government appointees who will be accountable only to government.
The Government of Saskatchewan has tasked a six person advisory panel to look at the recommendations of the Perrin Review and set a course for K-12 education in this province.
This report has three proposed options:
1) A provincial model which would consolidate the 18 existing public boards of education into a single provincial appointed public school board. This option also includes an appointed advisory board, an Education Quality Council and a corporate shared services body.
2) Four regional appointed public boards of education accountable to the minister of education. This option also includes an appointed advisory body to the minister, an Education Quality Council and a corporate shared services body.
3) This model includes restructuring the current public school divisions to create eight to 14 new divisions, based on number of students served as well as geographic area. There is an option to either elect or appoint school board trustees.
All three models call for centralization within the system that could also lead to privatization.
The consultation process has been rushed, and to date has not offered meaningful opportunities for parents, teachers, support staff, students or community member to engage. And the panel is only accepting comments until January 23, 2017.
CUPE is urging all concerned residents to sign the petition below and have a say. We need to stand together to ensure that any changes to the education are in the best interests of students.
- Advisory Panel on Education Reform
- Deputy Premier and Education Minister Don Morgan
I am writing to express my concerns about the proposed restructuring of Saskatchewan K-12 education system.
Education is a public good and fundamental for a democratic society. The restructuring of school divisions must establish democratically elected and accountable school boards that are responsive to local communities. School divisions that are geographically too large will be less responsive to students, their families and communities. With appointed centralized school divisions, it will be difficult for parents, school staff and communities to advocate for children. .
The goal of restructuring should not focus on cost savings, but on improving the delivery and quality of education to children, their families and communities. Funding for PreK-12 education must be equitable and take into account the specific needs of students in different communities, especially high enrolment schools, and schools with large numbers of indigenous students, low income students, students with high needs or high numbers of English as an additional language students.
If reorganization does happen the collective agreement rights of workers must be recognized and protected during school division amalgamations and no employees should have their wage rate or benefits reduced. To maintain fairness and equity among education support staff, provincial funding should be provided to immediately raise the wage rate and benefits of support staff to the highest rate among the legacy agreements.
Furthermore, the government must ensure that there is meaningful consultation with all stakeholders before implementing any proposals to change the governance structure of school divisions. Those who should have meaningful input into the process include administrators, teachers and support staff and their respective organizations; parents, organizations that represent specific student interests and local communities.
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