‘Our children are at stake’: N.S. parents, students frustrated by ongoing job action

Click to play video: 'N.S. students divided over ongoing labour dispute'
N.S. students divided over ongoing labour dispute
WATCH ABOVE: With no end in site to the Nova Scotia labour dispute between teachers and the province, work to rule action resumes this week, and there is a stark devide between students. Global's Jennifer Grudic explains – Jan 31, 2017

Many parents and students are getting frustrated with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union (NSTU), which resumed its work-to-rule job action Monday.

The ongoing dispute is a polarising issue throughout the province, with blame being directed at both the province and the union for their inability to reach an agreement.

“A lot of students are blaming the government,” said Grade 12 student Kiara Sexton.

READ MORE: 5 universities taking Nova Scotia Teachers Union to court over work-to-rule

“I feel as through students aren’t necessarily angry towards the teachers, simply because we understand that teachers conditions are our learning conditions. We see first hand how much teachers put into us and just go above and behind. It’s affecting us now.”

The union said in a release they have “lost trust” in Premier Stephen McNeil after remarks that the two extra days off allotted in the latest offer would be considered marking or prep days, rather than actual days off.

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READ MORE: Details of NS teachers’ tentative agreement raise concerns

Manuel Moncayo-Adams is a Grade 12 student and a member of the group Students For Teachers. He says he wants to see things return to normal for students, even if that means a strike situation.

“It’s been months with this, we just want our graduating year back. We don’t want ambiguity about where our marks are coming from, if we can access our marks,” Moncayo-Adams said.

Danerra Spears is a former teacher and the mother of two children in the Nova Scotia school system. She says she wants the public to realize that teachers are not only fighting for their own rights, they’re fighting for the students of this province.

“Essentially teachers are the voice for our children and we need to respect that,” Spears said.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia teachers’ 16 contract demands and what the province says they cost

“We need to really take a good look at what they’re asking for. It’s not money for their own pockets. It’s simple things, supports, that will provide students with education success.”

She says she believes the government is aware of the many shortfalls within the province’s education system, but is skeptical that they are committed to making things better.

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“At the end of the day, I think for the government, this has very little to do with actual education and teachers. I think it has a lot more to do with union issues. Our children are at stake. This isn’t about money. This isn’t about two days of self-directed development,” Spears said.

READ MORE: NS committed to classroom change with latest offer to teachers: premier

Matthew Baird is the parent of two school-aged children and says while work-to-rule is inconvenient, he understands why it is necessary for his children’s educational future and says it’s necessary for change.

“I think that the reason that teachers are coming out and doing this is because there’s a bigger message here. A broader message that Stephen McNeil and Karen Casey refuse to talk about and that is we need to start focusing on some of these improvements in the classroom,” said Baird.

He said he hopes this entire process will give the public a new appreciation for the work teachers do and inspire parents to step up to help in extracurricular activities.

NSTU members will vote on the latest tentative agreement on February 8.

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