Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Atlantic

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Atlantic

May 06, 2011 10:23 ET

Levin report completely misses mark-CUPE

TRURO, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - May 6, 2011) - The union representing the vast majority of Teaching Assistants (called Educational Program Assistants in the HRSB and Student Program Assistants in some other boards) in Nova Scotia schools is questioning one of the main conclusions of the Ben Levin report.

The report was conducted on behalf of the provincial government and looks at our public education system.

Danny Cavanagh, President of CUPE Nova Scotia says, "This report seems to miss entirely the fundamental concept of inclusion, the cornerstone of our province's approach to providing services for special needs children. It cuts to the very heart of how our province has addressed special needs over the last 30 years.

"It also raises very serious questions about equality, and even human rights issues for these children. To say we are perplexed with its findings is putting it mildly," says Cavanagh.

Wilfridine Crowdis, the Chair of the Nova Scotia School Board Council of Unions - representing more than 4,000 CUPE school board workers in seven schools boards – says, "To suggest that Teaching Assistants (TA's) don't contribute to education in the classroom appears to show a profound misunderstanding of the vital role that thousands of these workers play in our school system.

"Mr. Levin also cites a British study to back up some of his 'conclusions' about Teaching Assistants in the classroom. In our view, the full report, curiously, comes to the almost exact opposite conclusion that Levin suggests it does," says Crowdis.

"He also suggests that Teaching Assistants should not be used for children with learning difficulties without appearing to understand that in Nova Scotia school boards, this is not what they are used for. TA's are only assigned to children who have multiple physical and cognitive challenges or those whose behavior is considered dangerous to themselves or others.

"Children with learning disabilities do not have TA's assigned to them," says Crowdis, who has worked in the school system for over 30 years.

Contact Information

  • Danny Cavanagh
    CUPE NS President
    (902) 957-0822 (Cell)

    Wilfridine Crowdis
    Chair, NSSBCU
    (902) 258-7208 (Cell)

    Kathy MacLeod
    CUPE School Board Co-ordinator
    (902) 578-3304 (Cell)

    John McCracken
    CUPE Communications Rep.
    (902) 455-4180 (o)