Budget 2017 pays lip service to education needs

NDP Education Critic Lorraine Michael

NDP Education Critic Lorraine Michael (MHA, St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi) says government is just paying lip service to pressing needs in the school system while doing as little as possible to fix the problem.

“The $500,000 announced in the budget for student assistants falls far short of what is needed for inclusive education,” said Michael.

NLTA reports show clearly that more instructional resource teachers are needed to help classroom teachers and student assistants. They have called for more school counsellors, educational psychologists and the addition of some social workers.

“Government has done nothing to reverse the damage of the 2016 budget which increased class sizes, cut teaching units and made it harder for teachers to get help from the specialist teachers they need to make inclusion work in their classroom.”

Michael noted that an under-resourced inclusion model hurts all students, not just those who rely on inclusion services.

“Even the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development admits that inclusion is not working,” Michael added. “How long do students have to wait for this government to put in place what is needed? Regular classroom teachers are just not able to meet the needs of all students in the classroom.”

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