November 25, 2020
Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg MB—NDP Leader Wab Kinew stood with NDP Education Critic Nello Altomare and MLA for Wolseley Lisa Naylor today to call on the Pallister government to immediately address the critical shortage of teachers, substitutes, EAs and classroom supports in Manitoba’s school system by hiring Education students nearing the end of their degree.
“Our kids thrive in when they are learning in the classroom. But nearly four months into this chaotic school year, it’s clear the only thing that’s keeping government’s plan afloat is the sheer dedication of Manitoba teachers,” said Kinew. “As we approach the winter break the province should be using every resource available to keep classrooms open, starting with the critical shortage of educators. That’s why we’re proposing a plan to make use of our Education students and put them to work a few months ahead of schedule to save the school year.”
Manitoba schools are struggling to keep classrooms open as they juggle teachers isolating and a lack of resources in the system. Teachers are stretched thin working with students both in-person and virtually, or even across multiple classrooms.
The Manitoba NDP is proposing the Pallister government invest the federal government’s funding commitment to hire Education students in their final year of training or in their practicum to work in schools. Currently, there are over 500 students in the final year of their degree at the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg who could be eligible. Kinew stressed that these Education students, as well as substitute teachers, should receive benefits like paid sick leave.
University of Winnipeg Education Professor Lee Anne Block supported the NDP’s plan. “We need a better plan that will support teachers and support learning,” she said. “Giving Education students in their final years the opportunity to teach is an easy solution that is good for students, educators and families. These students have received several years of training and have access to faculty advisors and professors who can support their transition to becoming a classroom teacher. We need to be doing everything we can to keep schools open.”