The following statement was issued today by the Honourable Brian Warr, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development:
A news release issued today by the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association (NLTA) contains false information and does not accurately reflect my department’s discussions or intent regarding class sizes and teacher allocations.
Let me be very clear. Our government has no intention of increasing class sizes. Furthermore, as communicated at the Standing Committee on Social Services proceedings of June 25, 2019, the review of teacher allocations will be conducted when the implementation of the Education Action Plan is completed and the additional resources being provided to classrooms across the province has been fully implemented. An additional 350 teaching resources are being provided over a three year period and will be fully implemented in 2021.
The NLTA news release states, “In 2016 the government increased the class sizes of grade one to grade nine classes so it could introduce full day Kindergarten.” This information is incorrect. Class sizes were not increased or changed in any way in grades 1 to 3.
The NLTA news release also states that a memo was circulated to principals suggesting that kindergarten class sizes could be increased to 24 students to accommodate junior Kindergarten. Again, this is incorrect. In actual fact, a survey was conducted seeking information on current infrastructure capacity as part of consultations on junior kindergarten. This was purely an information gathering exercise and at no time have we contemplated or communicated an increase to class sizes.
The department meets regularly with executive members of the NLTA and it is extremely concerning and disappointing that the association would distribute inaccurate information, raising unnecessary concern among our school communities.
We appreciate the NLTA’s desire and mandate to raise issues and conduct various campaigns with its membership, such as the class size button campaign currently underway. However, the association has a responsibility to ensure the information it is relaying is accurate and truthful.
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Education and Early Childhood Development