MONDAY 4:59 PM: BREAKING NEWS: MCNEIL REVERSES COURSE: SCHOOLS TO OPEN ON TUESDAY MORNING!
[Note: The following material was posted before McNeil's Monday afternoon decision to re-open schools on Tuesday morning.]
Liberal Premier Stephen McNeil's stunning decision to lock out all of Nova Scotia's students has left parents scrambling for options and provoke a storm of outrage. Students at Eastern Shore District High and other schools walked out on Friday to support the teachers. The Nova Scotia House of Assembly has been called back into session on Monday at 10 AM to ram through a bill forcing the teachers to go back to work under the terms of a contract that the union rejected earlier this fall. Schools may be closed for as much as a week.
Keep coming back to this article on the Cooperator website for links to the latest news on the growing number of protests, on the government's effort to legislate a contract and force teachers back to work, and on efforts along the Eastern Shore to care for all of the locked-out students. And check out the Eastern Shore Cooperator's Facebook page for additional news. You can also leave your comments on the Facebook page, and share information about where to find daycare, etc.
Students for Teachers, rally, Monday, December 5, starting at 9 AM--continuing, outside the Assembly, 1726 Hollis Street, Halifax.
Facebook: Students for Teachers
#students4teachers #parents4teachers #NSTUnited
Nova Scotia Parents for Teachers (Facebook group)
Rally, Monday, December 5th, 3-4pm, Grand Parade, Barrington Street, Halifax
This Facebook group has over 12,000 members.
Change.org Petition addressed to Eastern Shore Liberal MLA Kevin Murphy calling for the Resignation of Honourable Stephen McNeil and Honourable Karen Lynn Casey. (Legally, the provincial government does not recognize online petitions. However, such petitions can still function as a sign of public anger. This one has already gathered 1,520 supporters.)
McNeil Liberal Government Statements and Press Releases
Information Notice for Parents and Guardians from the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood DevelopmentDecember 3, 2016. This document is the official guidance for parents on the student lockout.
Dec 3 press release from DEECD announcing student lockout. In this release, EECD Minister Karen Casey asserts that safety is the government's primary motivation: "The safety of all of our students is paramount. It is clear, after communicating with school board officials across Nova Scotia, that the job actions proposed by the NSTU could put our schools in an emergency situation. Superintendents could simply not guarantee student safety, and recommended schools be closed."
Dec 3 press release from Speaker Kevin Murphy announcing the emergency convening of the Assembly at 10 AM on Monday, December 5 to pass legislation forcing the teachers to accept the contract they previously rejected. The press release's description of the reason for the session is cryptic: "This decision results from consultation with government respecting the public interest."
The Nova Scotia Public Service Commission has a great round-up of information about the province's bargaining with the NSTU on a web page called "Public Service Sustainability." This list includes many of the key memos about the progress of the negotiations this fall.
Nova Scotia Teachers Union
The NSTU has a sophisticated online campaign called "Act for Education." One of the more useful pages is the Frequently Asked Questions page, which contains answers to a number of questions parents are asking.
The NSTU distributed a booklet to the 9,300 public school teachers explaining what "working to rule" means. Local Express got a copy of this booklet and published this story on November 30th with details: "Many actions forbidden for teachers under work-to-rule plan."
Statements and Press Releases from Other Unions, Political Parties, and Politicians
Statement from NDP Leader Gary Burrill on student lockout: NDP Leader Gary Burrill released the following statement following today’s announcement that the Liberal government will lock students out of classrooms starting Monday and impose a contract on teachers in the coming days:
“For over a year, teachers have been saying they need support in the classroom. Teachers have called for this support in 100 different ways and have been joined by parents and students in their calls. Today, Stephen McNeil and Karen Casey have responded by telling teachers to shut up and get back to work. This Liberal government’s approach undermines democracy and undermines public education. The NDP Caucus believes that listening to teachers, parents and students is the only way to improve the conditions in classrooms and ensure students get the support they need.”