The 2015 budget which cut resources, increased caps sizes for classrooms and introduced multi-grade classrooms is starting to take its toll on teachers, students (especially especially those with special needs) and parents. Unfortunately, we are beginning to see the roll-back of the progressive gains made over the last twenty years.
As President of the Federation of School Councils, a parent and a member of a couple of school councils, I have been hearing concerns across the board about missing resources, lack of books, bussing, overcrowded classrooms, confusing policies on the provision of IRT services for primary students, children coming home from school with stress head aches and teachers that already feel stretched to the limit - just two weeks into the school year.
This is on top of the deficiencies and challenges school aged children were already facing. We are chronically short on guidance councillors. There has been no change to Pervasive Needs/IRT (categorical) allocation despite a demonstrated need. We need more teachers - not less. There has been no change to the basis for specialist allocations Guidance Counsellors, Educational Psychologists, or Speech-Language Pathologists. We need mental health and addictions councillors and there is a crisis in the delivery of inclusive education.
Education has been cut to the bone and I fear these cuts will have severe, long-term impacts that will put the students of this province at an extreme disadvantage for years to come.