Pallister Government Cuts Resources for Rural and Northern Teachers

March 13, 2019

The Manitoba NDP is raising the alarm after Brian Pallister moved to close a resource library that helps teachers provide high quality education for rural and northern students. The Pallister government announced they are closing the Manitoba Curriculum Support Centre on April 1st—a $1.7 million budget cut.

“Families want their kids to get the best quality education possible. That means giving teachers the resources they need to actively engage students,” NDP Education Critic Matt Wiebe. “Since this announcement we’ve heard directly from teachers about the impact Pallister’s cut will have on our teachers, our classrooms and ultimately our kids.”

The Manitoba Curriculum Support Centre provides teaching materials and services to support classroom activities, implement the provincial curriculum and provide professional development for educators. The Centre included a library of materials for teachers to access, including books, posters, videos and assignments. It also provided materials in accessible formats like Braille, large print or audio book that helped students with disabilities fully participate in the provincial curriculum. It was staffed with teacher-librarians who, as experts trained on the Manitoba curriculum, were able to provide support for teachers.

Wiebe noted Pallister’s cut hits rural and northern teachers the hardest, particularly those with limited library resources. Some teachers have argued it puts rural and northern students’ literacy and numeracy skills at risk by eliminating access to books and math supports.

“Rural and northern teachers are already struggling to survive Brian Pallister’s deep cuts to school funding,” said Wiebe. “Their classrooms are overcrowded, they have lost their Educational Assistants and now they will have less access to the resources they need to help our kids in the classroom.”

The Minister of Education has so far refused to walk back the decision to close the Centre. The Manitoba Teachers Society noted the government failed to consult with teachers or rural families prior to announcing their decision despite being in the middle of a province-wide review of the education system.