It will be my first change to chat with the Hon. Susan Sullivan. Like her predecessors, she is a retired teacher with a distinguished 30-year teaching career. We have been fortunate to have had a couple of ministers that were passionate about education, had taught and administered in the system and were responsive to our overtures.
The NLFSC has a role to advocate and to bring the concerns of our membership to government. We look at government, the NLTA and various other education advocacy groups as partners in education. The goal is to ensure our students get the safest and very best education possible.
We will continue to advocate for more guidance councilors, more teachers, safe and caring schools, more funds for music and the arts programs a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to school aged children and youth mental health and addictions support.
We realise that there are plenty of competing priorities and finite financial resources.
The NLFSC is a volunteer organization. We are not a propaganda wing of the government nor are we a propaganda wing of the NLTA, or any opposition party.
Our mandate is to express the genuine concerns of school councils from across the province. It certainly is not to act as a propaganda wing of the provincial government – no matter the stripe. We collaborate on many things, praise where warranted and continue to advocate.
One area that it is not hard to see value for the significant investments made over the past decade is education. From new and improved infrastructure, the elimination of school fees, the elimination of book costs to laying the ground work for same day kindergarten - education has been a priority of this administration.
I look forward to meeting the new minister and ensuring the Federation of School Councils meets its potential as an outspoken voice for parents and schools.