Teacher numbers are up

Teacher numbers are up I am writing to correct some statements made by the NDP MLA for Mayo-Tatchun, Jim Tredger, who stated that the Yukon Department of Education moved 10 teachers out of schools into department offices as of Sept. 30. In fact, the numb

I am writing to correct some statements made by the NDP MLA for Mayo-Tatchun, Jim Tredger, who stated that the Yukon Department of Education moved 10 teachers out of schools into department offices as of Sept. 30. In fact, the number of teaching staff in Yukon schools increased this year by two.

The MLA for Mayo-Tatchun appears to be referring to the 11.9 full-time-equivalent positions that are described as “centrally-assigned,” a term which references a number of unique teaching assignments. These employees fill critically important roles that benefit Yukon students. Some of them work as teachers, delivering religious education in schools, working with young offenders, providing distance education, and working with First Nation students at the Individual Learning Centre.

Others provide support to visually-impaired students, those being schooled at home, or students with special behavioural needs. Five of them work as consultants in areas such as reading recovery, literacy support, early learning, and trades coordination.

Most importantly, these “centrally-assigned” positions do not in any way diminish the number of teachers working in Yukon schools. In fact, they complement and enhance the work being done by Yukon teachers.

In addition, the provisions of the recent collective agreement signed by the Yukon government and the Yukon Teachers’ Association are focussed on supporting educators and improving student achievement. These measures include the reduction of maximum class size for grades up to and including Grade 7, provision for a classroom diversity committee to look at how extra support for students is being delivered, and an increase to the professional development fund.

It would be helpful if Mr. Tredger had checked his facts first, before making statements that can only serve to create anxiety and confusion amongst the public.

Scott Kent

Minister of Education