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For Immediate Release
November 10, 2016

NLTA RESPONSE TO THE AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT ON TEACHER ALLOCATIONS

The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association was pleased to learn that the Auditor General had taken on the task of reviewing the application of the Teacher Allocation Model. The NLTA has repeatedly called upon government to conduct a review of the model since the introduction of the Inclusive Education Initiative in 2009. Teachers repeatedly report that many student needs are no longer being addressed.

The NLTA supports the five recommendations of the Auditor General’s report and was disappointed that a review of the Teacher Allocation Model was not part of the mandate of the recently announced Premier’s Task Force on Education.

According to the Auditor General:  

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development did not formally document the goals and objectives for the Teacher Allocation Model. The goals were not linked to intended results and the objectives for the Teacher Allocation Model were not specific, measurable and did not include set time frames.

This would indicate that the Department of Education, without adequate supportive evidence, has repeatedly adjusted the Teacher Allocation formula to increase class sizes and increase the occurrence of multi-grading.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has not formally evaluated the Teacher Allocation Model to determine whether the intended results were achieved.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development did not develop an evaluation framework to periodically evaluate the Teacher Allocation Model in order to determine the impact of increasing or decreasing teaching units, whether intended results were achieved and whether changes in strategy were required.

Apparently, the Department continued to modify the Teacher Allocation Model in order to increase class sizes with no assessment of the potential impact on students.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development failed to evaluate the Teacher Allocation Model despite clear direction from cabinet to do so.

The failure to conduct this review possibly indicates an internal awareness that the current model was not meeting the needs of children.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development did not have any documentation to support the allocation decisions for Component 2 (Pervasive needs and other special services supports) teaching units for the 2014-15 school year.

The NLTA negotiated a Joint Inclusive Education Committee to review the resourcing of Inclusive Education, which has been prevented by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development from making recommendations on Teacher Allocations.  According to James Dinn, President of the NLTA, “We have continued to be frustrated that the Joint Inclusive Education Committee, established under the NLTA collective agreement, to review the resourcing of Inclusive Education has been prevented by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development from making recommendations on Teacher Allocations.”

Upon review of the Auditor General’s Report, the NLTA believes that a more thorough exploration of the costs associated with the Inclusive Education Model, considering the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Moore v. British Columbia (Education), is required. https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/12680/index.do

In the recent Panel on the Status of Public Education in Newfoundland and Labrador report Better Together, Dr. Bruce Sheppard and Dr. Kirk Anderson recommended the following:

Recommendation 1: That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with the NLTA, Faculty of Education and other stakeholders develop a plan to increase the number of instructional resource teachers, school counsellors, education psychologists, speech-language pathologists and student assistants. The allocation formula providing supports for students with special needs and challenging needs should be truly a needs-based assessment and generous in application.

Recommendation 2: That Government and the School District(s) in cooperation with the NLTA and other stakeholders establish a new class size cap for classes with composition diversity of greater than 10% in primary, elementary, intermediate and senior high schools.

Recommendation 6: That Government give serious consideration to the inclusion of social workers as professional employees with schools to support existing personnel.

Recommendation 7: That Government, consistent with the practice in other provinces, include occupational therapists as professional employees in schools.

Actioning of the Auditor General’s recommendations should include due consideration of the Panel Report on the Status of Public Education. http://files.nlta.nl.ca/wp-content/uploads/public/documents/reports/status_pub_ edu_rprt.pdf

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For further information contact:
Lesley-Ann Browne, NLTA Communications, Tel: 709-726-3223, ext. 228; 682-3751 (cellular); labrowne@nlta.nl.ca