December 9, 2021
New Brunswick’s District Education Council Chairs were made aware there would be an announcement
around changes to the governance structure earlier this week but as of now we have little to no
information on the options and next steps being considered by the Minister. At this time, we are not able
to speak to whether councils will support changes.
In our very limited discussions, we have heard a lot about the need for alignment and how changes are
needed to facilitate the minister’s mandate, New Brunswick District Education Councils will continue
throughout this process to advocate for the community. Democracy isn’t always the most efficient form of
government but as a society we value diversity of voice and believe public education requires local input .
We have concerns about the level of involvement and consultation our exhausted education professionals
will be able to commit to reorganizing the education system when they are focused on ongoing safety
concerns and COVID’s impact on student achievement. The Minister of Education is out of touch if he
believes that organizational restructuring is the primary concerns of staff, parents or community members
at this time.
Education governance is the oldest form of public democracy in Canada. We know from experience at
home and in other provinces that these types of reforms have a significant impact on the system and
requires years of settle out. It is worrying to see the Minister of Education continue on his desire to
transform the governance structure and to think of placing additional and prolonged stress on the system
at this time.
We will have many questions for the Minister as details become available and will be working on behalf of
the people in our districts to advocate for real and meaningful consultation. Education is everyone’s
business; we must ensure all New Brunswickers maintain the right to have their say in education and that
both linguistic sectors have the right to a degree of management and control in public education.
What I can say is that as Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the 4 Anglophone District Education Councils, we are
extremely proud of our members, past and present, and the work councils have done to support students
and education over the years. Many of us have been involved in education governance since before
DECs were established and strongly believe this is a good structure – with room for improvement. We are
disappointed that consideration was not given to investing in the current model to address concerns
around alignment and accountability rather than starting from scratch at a time when the system needs
stability above all else.
Our members do not serve for fortune or fame; councillors put their name forward for the DEC because
they want what is best for kids and our community. The Council of Chairs has asked repeatedly to be
involved in the work of shaping the new governance structure. We want to ensure any proposed model is
in the best interest of students and community and is:
- democratic in nature,
- actually increases local voice and authority,
- and ensures respect and communication between EECD and community representation.
Education is at the heart of our communities and community must be at the heart of education
Joseph Petersen, President
Council of District Education Council Chairs
Media Requests and Inquires: Joseph.Petersen@nbed.nb.ca, 506-229-2871