NBACL welcomes the opportunity to offer feedback and suggestions around proposals for educational reform in New Brunswick. Over the years NBACL has played a significant role in education reform with a focus on ensuring that our system is fully inclusive and provides opportunities for all young people to have a full and valued life within their communities.
The tight timeframe for responding to the Green Paper does not permit an extensive written response – we will, therefore, focus our response on some critical issues relevant to the people we represent.
At the outset, we would like to acknowledge the importance of striving and planning to “imagine better” within our education structures and systems so that all people are able to thrive and reach their best potential. We support the focus of taking a long view on our education system and using long-term planning and budget allocations to set and achieve goals.
We have significant concerns about some of the strong language used in the Green Paper (such as “crisis” and “widespread confusion”) without objective data to back up these statements. Anecdotal comments are acceptable when they are described as such, but caution about broad statements without supporting data must be exercised.
The data does support that NB has an established “world class” education system – the information in the Green Paper on international achievement shows that NB (along with other provinces in Canada) being ranked among the best in the world. We have a high standard for “equity, accessibility and opportunity” for children to complete their education through to graduation.
We do acknowledge that there are some problems to tackle. We need to be clear about what problems exist and have clear data and evidence to identify the scope and nature of these problems. The Green Paper contains a number of blanket statements about issues or crisis without clear data to back up these claims. This is not helpful and it raises questions about the need for large scale or significant change.
NBACL is prepared to work with government and our community partners to find solutions to problems that are real (such as the need to provide better mental health support to our youth). We will also support change in our education system that is student centred and based on a human rights and inclusive education framework and mandate.
For the full response, please click the link below: