K-12 Education Commission Report Released

Education Review Short on Details

The Provincial Government unveiled its long-awaited changes to the Manitoba school system that promise to ripple through the system for years.

Teachers and principals will see effects sooner and later as the government rolls out the implementation over the next several years.

While the government intentions were expected more than a year ago, but delayed by the pandemic, there are still numerous, outstanding questions about the plans.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society has some serious concerns, especially regarding the removal of principals from the Society.

“As leaders of their school community, principals need to operate clearly within the management domain — removed from the real or perceived conflict of interest that currently exists with management and employees in the same union,” the government document says. It offers no evidence to support the assertion.

The document gives little detail on how such a move would work, except that there would be an option “for returning to classroom teaching to remain in the teacher union and thereby protect their seniority, pension, benefits and other entitlements.”

Much of the government outline lacks detail. It promises further consultations depending on the government’s intentions.

It does say its new governance model will be implemented by July 1 of next year.

It will include the reduction of English school divisions to 15 in the following combinations.

  • Winnipeg, St. James-Assiniboia, Louis Riel, Pembina Trails, Seven Oaks and River East Transcona
  • Garden Valley, Western
  • Frontier, Kelsey, Flin Flon and Mystery Lake
  • Evergreen, Lakeshore
  • Beautiful Plains, Park West, Rolling River
  • Interlake, Lord Selkirk
  • Mountain View, Swan Valley, Turtle River
  • Hanover
  • Fort La Bosse, Southwest Horizon, Turtle Mountain
  • Sunrise, Whiteshell
  • Brandon
  • Seine River
  • Portage La Prairie, Pine Creek
  • Border Land, Red River Valley
  • Prairie Spirit, Prairie Rose

Hanover, Brandon and Seine River are the only English divisions that remain untouched. The Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM) will also remain as is.

The Society will be meeting with the government in the immediate future to discuss the plans and timetable. The full report can be found here.

Union Busting on the Agenda

Principals and vice-principals to be removed from MTS

The provincial government today announced that principals and vice-principals will be removed from The Manitoba Teachers’ Society, as recommended by the K-12 Education Review Commission.

“The mandate of the K-12 Commission was to improve outcomes for students, ensure long-term sustainability and enhance public confidence,” said MTS vice-president Nathan Martindale. “The removal of principals and vice-principals from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society does not accomplish any of these objectives. It is a fact that students have better outcomes when all educators are in the same union.”

“In other jurisdictions where principals and teachers are not part of a common professional organization, a lot of energy and effort is redirected into dealing with union issues and other hierarchal conflicts,” said Martindale. “This undermines attempts to move forward, affecting the quality of teaching and student learning.”

In addition to removing principals and vice-principals from the bargaining unit, the Commission recommends:

  • Reinforcing the centrality of the role of principals as instructional leaders in improving student learning and achievement, and work with them to devise ways to facilitate their ongoing professional learning needs; and
  • Reorganizing administrative staff to create business manager positions for schools or families to schools to assume some of the maintenance, operations, accounting, and financial roles of principals to enable them to focus on school leadership, teaching, learning, parent and community engagement, school management, and school effectiveness.

“The inclusion of principals and vice-principals in a union that represents teachers is vital, because these individuals are in fact the first teachers,” said Martindale. “The full force of The Society stands in opposition of this recommendation.”

Principals and vice-principals have been part of Manitoba’s professional teacher organization since a group of teachers and principals established The Manitoba Teachers’ Federation in 1919. They represent close to seven per cent of the membership of The Manitoba Teachers’ Society.