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N.B. pauses proposed Education Act changes

By Brad Perry Jun 16, 2023 | 12:24 PM

Another bombshell in the legislature on Friday, this one coming from the education minister.

Bill Hogan said the province will not be moving ahead with a new Education Act — for now.

“We will not be advancing that any further at this stage,” Hogan said during question period.

The controversial Bill 46 was set to be debated during two days of committee in the legislature next week.

Under the proposed changes, district education councils (DECs) would change from being a decision-making body to an advisory body.

District superintendents, who currently report to DECs, would deal directly with Hogan’s department instead.

Opponents of the changes accused the Higgs government of eroding democracy and trying to centralize decision-making power.

Rob Fowler, a former DEC chair with the Anglophone South School District, said the changes would mean a loss of power at the local level.

“DECs are not going to have that community input into the process,” Fowler said in an interview after the proposed Education Act was first unveiled.

“We had local control, in the sense that we set our goals and objectives for the district and the superintendent using policy governance, and we were able to reflect local concerns in those policies. That’s gone now.”

The proposed changes even prompted anglophone district education councils to consider legal action.

Speaking about his decision on Friday, the education minister said they want more time to consult with New Brunswickers.

Bill 46 is set to return to the legislature during the fall sitting.


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