Lots of misinformation, no consensus on education reform plan, says minister

Lots of misinformation, no consensus on education reform plan, says minister

Education Minister Zach Churchill spent the last week on the road visiting communities from Yarmouth to Sydney, N.S., trying to explain his government's decision to axe school boards and reorganize school administrations.

He found anxiety and uncertainty, but according to the minister, there was also support for the Liberal plan.

"I believe that there's not necessarily consensus on what reform in education needs to look like and so that's reflected in a diversity of opinions that are being expressed to me from teachers, from principals, from community members," he told reporters in Halifax on Friday.

"Our objective is just to make the best decisions that we believe we can. That will help our kids."

He said he and his officials have tried to provide "accurate information" and "answer questions directly."

"There's a lot of misinformation that obviously is swirling about on social media and certain meetings that are taking place," said Churchill.

No layoffs, minister says

Given the scope of the change to come, there's a "high level of uncertainty," he said.

"That uncertainty has led people to believe that there's worst-case scenarios that could happen, which isn't, of course, the case — [that] people that come out of the union won't be protected, that their salaries and benefits won't be there. That's not the case."

He pointed to the decision to give principals and vice-principals a full year to decide whether to keep those jobs or return to the classroom as one of the tangible results of his informal consultation.

Churchill said existing teachers would not be bumped out of jobs by administrators returning to the classroom, nor would there be layoffs as a result of the changes.