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Issue 2 | Thursday, February 22, 2018

Connecting the dots across
13 education systems

The high school dropout rate is at an all-time low on P.E.I.

The high school dropout rate is at an all-time low on P.E.I.

Statistics Canada is reporting a decrease in P.E.I.’s high school dropout rate, from 20.1% in 1990 to 3.2% in 2016. In a CBC News report, Sandy MacDonald, (EdCan Network Director and Vice-President of Academic and Applied Research at Holland College), offers that both the federal and provincial governments have been inserting resources – including guidance counsellors and resource teachers – during the past two decades to lower dropout rates, and that agriculture and fishery jobs of the 1990s are no longer present, which has changed the options available for young people.

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Le taux de décrochage scolaire est à la baisse au Québec et tout indique que cela va continuer

Le taux de décrochage scolaire est à la baisse au Québec et tout indique que cela va continuer

Dans un rapport paru la semaine dernière, le ministère de l’Éducation du Québec démontre que le taux de diplomation et de qualification des élèves québécois s’améliorent progressivement, soit de 78,8 % en 2014-2015 à
80,1 % l’année dernière. De plus, sur une période de huit ans, ce taux a été en constante progression. Dans un article pour Le Journal de Québec, Michel Perron, professeur associé à l’Université du Québec, suggère que cette tendance à la hausse s’explique par la démarche de mobilisation des acteurs civiles à la suite de la création du Groupe d’action sur la persévérance scolaire. #PersévéranceScolaire

Nova Scotia teachers vote ‘YES’ in strike vote against school system reforms

EVOLVING STORY: Nova Scotia teachers vote ‘YES’ in strike vote against school system reforms

Last month, Nova Scotia’s Ministry of Education announced that it would implement all 22 recommendations set out in the Raise the Bar report authored by consultant Avis Glaze. The announcement was made a day following the report’s release. A key recommendation in this report was to eliminate all seven of its regional school boards – with the exception of its Francophone board – in favour of a single provincial model. The decision has been met with critical opposition from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU), which pulled its representative from the Ministry’s Council to Improve Classroom Conditions, citing that the government has not lived up to its obligations to consult with council members. The NSTU is contesting the removal of principals and vice-principals from the teachers union and the creation of an educator’s college, which would oversee the licensing and governing of the teaching profession. Premier Stephen McNeil subsequently put forward an $800,000 compensation offer to allow the union to find a sustainable solution for lost membership dues during a first-year transition without principal and vice-principal members. The union subsequently rejected the offer and held a strike vote on Tuesday, February 20th in protest of the reforms. In results released yesterday, 82.5% of NSTU members voted in favour of the strike, and as many as 118,000 students could be impacted#NSUnited #DeGlaze

Minister warns that an illegal strike could lead to fines

Minister of Education Zach Churchill has warned that an illegal strike could see fines for the union and individual teachers, as teacher contracts are not set to expire until next year. A public forum was held last Thursday, February 15th in Sydney, Cape Breton, with over 500 in attendance, as Churchill travels the province to discuss the reforms. It was also this past Thursday that Minister Churchill announced that principals and vice-principals would be given a year to decide whether to leave the union or return to classroom teaching and remain unionized.

Education commentators weigh pros and cons of system reforms

Education blogger Grant Frost suggests that de-unionizing principals and VPs would not improve teacher accountability, nor would a “super board” reduce bureaucracy. Education pundit Paul Bennett also suggests that the cost-savings of school board consolidation are not always clear. Inversely, Blogger Debbie L. Kasman supports the elimination of school boards, claiming that trustees often do not fulfill their responsibilities as elected officials, while retired teacher Chris Eustace feels that elected school boards are becoming irrelevant in light of poor voter turnout. #NSEd #NSPoli

Parents, support workers, and Black educators worried about impacts on students, jobs

CBC News interviewed several parents, revealing mixed reactions to the proposed reforms, yet calling on the union not to strike. Nova Scotia’s Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) released a statement on potential ramifications for its over 4,000 support staff, including secretaries, education assistants, librarians, bus drivers, and custodians. Karen Hudson, President of Nova Scotia’s Black Educators Association, said that the Raising the Bar report is flawed in its representation of African Nova Scotian students. In light of these events in the province, an educator and African Nova Scotian artist also shared her reflections on the benefits of creating an Africentric school.
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Les enseignants de la Nouvelle-Écosse votent « OUI » lors du vote de grève contre les réformes au système scolaire

EN DÉVELOPPEMENT : Les enseignants de la Nouvelle-Écosse votent « OUI » lors du vote de grève contre les réformes au système scolaire

Il y a un mois que le ministère de l’Éducation de la Nouvelle-Écosse a annoncé sa décision de mettre en œuvre toutes les 22 recommandations énoncées dans le rapport Relever la barre du consultant Avis Glaze. Parmi ces recommandations, on compte la proposition d’éliminer les sept conseils scolaires régionaux de la province, laquelle ne s’applique pas au Conseil scolaire acadien. Ce dernier a publié un communiqué expliquant qu’il est « heureux de maintenir sa structure de gouvernance », mais qu’il leur reste plusieurs questions quant aux impacts des recommandations sur ses élèves, ses écoles et sa gouvernance. Le ministère projette également de retirer les directeurs d’écoles et directeurs adjoints du syndicat des enseignants. Dans un reportage de Radio-Canada, la directrice de l’école Beaubassin à Bedford fait part de ses préoccupations face aux actions de la province, disant qu’elle est bien en mesure « [d’] avoir des conversations difficiles avec [ses] enseignants » même s’ils font partie du même syndicat. Le premier ministre néo-écossais Stephen McNeil a aussi mis sur la table une offre de 800 000 $ au syndicat afin de compenser le retrait des directeurs d’écoles et directeurs adjoints. L’offre était rejetée par le syndicat, qui a tenu un vote de grève le mardi 20 février. Dans les résultats du vote qui ont parus hier, 82 % des membres représentés par le syndicat ont voté en faveur d'une grève, laquelle pourrait affecter plus de 118 000 élèves. 
 
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Newcomer students are entering Manitoba’s school system in increasing numbers, creating challenges for educators

Newcomer students are entering Manitoba’s school system in increasing numbers, creating challenges for educators

In a report by CTV News Winnipeg, between 2007 and 2017, over 45,000 English as an Additional Language (EAL) students entered Manitoba's education system, including refugee children and youth fleeing violent situations. This creates challenges for teachers, Education Minister Ian Wishart acknowledged in the news report, citing that Manitoba Education and Training is providing resources for meeting newcomers’ academic and social-emotional needs including dealing with life after war. On CBC RadioOne’s “Cross Country Checkup” Acadia Junior High School in Winnipeg is spotlighted for its good practices in integrating newcomer students, whom represent 56% of the student population speaking over 50 languages. Acadia’s “Peaceful Village,” is an afterschool program where students receive homework help and work on art-based “passion projects.”

La C.-B. recrute des enseignants francophones pour combler les pénuries

La C.-B. recrute des enseignants francophones pour combler les pénuries

Des représentants de la Commission scolaire de Vancouver se sont rendus à Montréal afin de recruter de futurs enseignants francophones, et ce, à la lumière d’une pénurie d’enseignants dans leur province. À la suite d’une décision de la Cour suprême du Canada en 2016, le droit du syndicat des enseignants de négocier avec le ministère de l’Éducation quant à la taille des classes et leur composition a été affirmé. Cette décision a conduit à des classes moins populeuses. Le nombre d’élèves en classe d’immersion française en Colombie-Britannique a également haussé par 30 % au cours des dix dernières années, s’achevant à 54 063 élèves dans l’ensemble de la province.


B.C. to train more teachers and recruit Francophones amid teacher shortage

The B.C. Ministry of Education is investing $571,000 to offset teacher shortages within in-demand subject areas, which comes also in light of a Minister’s task force report indicating that 54 B.C. school boards experience teacher, librarian, educational assistant, and counsellor retention challenges. Glen Hansman, President of the B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF), has said that the shortage has led to teachers without proper certificates being hired, and to qualified Vancouver-based teachers leaving to fill positions in other communities. The shortage also comes after a 2016 Supreme Court decision, which affirmed the right of the BCTF to negotiate class size and composition.  B.C. boards, and in particular the Vancouver School Board, has targetted Montreal and other parts of the country to recruit French immersion teachers.

Qui abandonne l’école ? Un sondage dresse un portrait des élèves décrocheurs au Québec

Qui abandonne l’école ? Un sondage dresse un portrait des élèves décrocheurs au Québec

Un rapport a été publié ce mois-ci par Léger, à la suite d’un sondage mené auprès de 1009 Québécois de 18 à 34 ans qui ont décroché, pensé à décrocher ou ont raccroché. Comme les résultats l’indiquent, 65 % des répondants qui ont décroché ou en ont considéré avaient de 13 à 16 ans, 59 % étaient des garçons et 71 % ont grandi dans une famille gagnant moins de 40 000 $ par an. À l’inverse, de ceux qui ont songé à décrocher, mais qui ne l’ont pas fait en fin de compte, 70 % ont constaté que leurs parents ou tuteurs restaient au courant de leurs situations scolaires.
 

Alberta to consider capping superintendent salaries amid salary hikes 

Following the release of a report prepared for the Alberta School Boards Association on superintendent salaries, Minister of Education David Eggen has announced that he will undertake measures to assess the possibility of implementing a pay gap and salary grid, while refraining from signing new contracts in the meantime. The report demonstrated that between 2015 and 2016, superintendent salaries increased by 10%, with salaries ranging from $229,448 to $357,404. The Calgary Herald published an editorial on the matter, questioning why Eggen has been approving superintendent contracts while many schools are cash-strapped.  

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Why do Catholic school students tend to perform better on standardized tests? Debate rehashed over Ontario’s Catholic schools

Why do Catholic school students tend to perform better on standardized tests? Debate rehashed over Ontario’s Catholic schools

An analysis conducted by the Globe and Mail indicates that the number of documented non-Catholic students attending Ontario’s catholic schools has increased by 18%. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) released a statement calling for one secular school system and expressing concern that declining enrolments and the loss of these students means less funding for special needs programs and keeping down class sizes in public schools, among other dossiers. Education blogger Paul McGuire writes that so long as separate school systems exist on religious and linguistic bases, boards will continue to compete for student enrolment, which could encourage boards to strive harder. In a Globe and Mail editorial, columnist Konrad Yakabuski suggests that certain questions need to be asked to determine why Catholic school students tend to perform better on provincial standardized tests.

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