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January/February 2019

As I gather myself and reflect on the year that was 2018, I can’t help but also look forward to 2019. While I am proud of what has been accomplished, I also acknowledge that there remains much to be done. Concluding this round of negotiations, preparing for the next provincial budget and advocating for our profession and the province’s education system chief among them.

We all need to periodically self-reflect and evaluate where we are and what we have done. As President of our Association, I always have to measure the NLTA’s successes through the lens of how our members have benefitted. We must continue to push the envelope and move forward. The promise that our education system holds for every student in this province will most likely be filled when the voice of the teacher, our members, is heard and more importantly, heeded. It is, and will always be, through the efforts of the educator that we will reach and fulfill the promise of an education that all students deserve.

Over the course of this past year I have, on behalf of the Association, made the point that growth, improvements, and the expansion of educational opportunities for all is in the best interest of all our citizens. In speaking with Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, and any other audience, I have, and will continue, to make the point that the best way forward runs through our province’s classrooms. A solid educational foundation leads to benefits in terms of social, health, and economic outcomes.

The recent report of the Child and Youth Advocate outlined the impact that under resourced schools have on our students. Class sizes that are too large, class compositions that are too varied, school counsellor and school psychologist allocations that are insufficient to meet student needs, and a system that demands too much of our school administrators without providing the time and resources to meet those demands have led to a myriad of concerns within the education system. In order to address student concerns, government and the school districts must start with an appropriate address of our concerns. Without this address the likelihood of our education system moving forward will be greatly compromised.

In early January the Association reached a tentative collective agreement with the employer and government. This deal is one that addresses a number of long-standing concerns and it introduces a number of new concepts for our working conditions – ones that future negotiating teams will seek to build upon. While government remained firm on its financial template, on balance, this agreement is one that the Negotiating Team, Provincial Executive, and Joint Council feel is the right one to accept at this time and I am hoping will see our membership support. Between now and casting your vote, I would ask that you assess the tentative agreement in its totality and weigh out and consider what is the best path forward at this time.

As always, thank you for the support you have shown for your Association and the tremendous efforts being made to move education forward.

Until next time…