No more cuts to education: NSTU president

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - The education system in the province can't take any more cuts, says the president of the Teachers Union.

"A child's education can't wait for the economy to turn around. That's what we need to get out there," said Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Alexis Allen after meeting with eight different schools and a community college in the county last week.
"It's not acceptable."
Going from school to school, Allen heard from teachers as to what their issues or concerns at the moment are.
"Things are running great at all the schools, but teachers are finding it harder to meet the needs of all their students," Allen said, noting that teachers do need extra support.
Allen said that the education department might be looking at a funding crunch because of the way the economy and provincial budget are.
"Teachers are concerned about under funding, and how that impacts combined classes," she said, noting that just because enrolment might decrease doesn't mean a grade can be cut.
She said her concern now is that the system will lose some of the programs and other support, including math and literature coaches.
With the recent H1N1 pandemic, the majority of schools throughout the Chignecto region saw high absentee rates.
"All of them were hit hard except for Amherst Regional High. Most of the school had 30, 40 or 50 per cent of their students absent. That's of huge importance," she said, adding teachers weren't overly concerned about having vaccination clinics at the schools.
She did say that the union was concerned about teachers working on the front lines without any protection, and that the health department was saying to frequently wash your hands.
"But you can't leave a class of Primary students to go to the washroom to wash your hands," she said.
Now that the vaccination clinics are open to the public, Allen said they thought they might be able to bring clinics to the schools.
"Not all parents are able to take the time to get the vaccinations done, and some might not be educated enough on the vaccine," she said.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Teachers Union

Geographic location: AMHERST, Chignecto

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