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Peter Lagacy is the president of the New Brunswick Teachers' Association. Image: Submitted/New Brunswick Teachers' Association

More investments needed in education, say teachers

By Brad Perry Nov 15, 2023 | 10:47 AM

New Brunswick teachers are calling on the province to address issues and “critical gaps” in the education system.

The New Brunswick Teachers’ Association launched a new campaign on Tuesday called “Refocus on the classroom.”

“The idea was to elevate the voices of teachers about some of the issues that are current in the system right now and that the NBTA is hearing,” president Peter Lagacy said in an interview.

More than 2,900 teachers — about half of the association’s membership — filled out a survey during a two-week period in October.

Lagacy said nearly half of the teachers who responded reported experiencing physical or verbal violence in the classroom.

Nine out of 10 said their school had to rely on uncertified community members or had no replacement at all for a teacher.

In addition, 83 per cent reported helping a student find food or clothing at least once, while seven in 10 said their ability to complete their duties was compromised due to facility issues like overcrowding, poor ventilation, and issues with physical space.

Lagacy said there needs to be a greater focus on hiring more teachers and retaining the ones currently in the system.

“We’ve heard over the years that maybe there’s not enough money, but I think now we’ve got record population growth and provincial surpluses, and it should be mean some record investments in the kids’ classrooms,” he said.

The NBTA said it hopes the campaign will refocus the government’s attention to help fill the critical gaps in the education system.