Although the Saskatchewan School Boards Association has stated that some of the amendments added by the Ministry of Education to the contentious Bill 63 indicate that government is listening, SSBA President Shawn Davidson acknowledged there is still some concern about the relative lack of checks and balances when it comes to the envisioned powers of the Minister.
Davidson though has a much more ambitious agenda in mind by calling for a full review, and ideally a rewritten version of The Education Act, 1995.
“The Education Act is an outdated piece of legislation, and with all the changes and amendments that have been made over the years it has become quite confusing, and the time has come for a full review,” he said.
Davidson is seeking concise language that he said would be workable in the current situation. He added that he’s hopeful the Ministry and other education partners will have a similar interest in revamping and improving the legislation.
In his remarks, Davidson cited the importance of working collaboratively on this, while singling out the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation as a particularly important education partner in looking at this process.
“Along with our partners like the STF, we would want to be involved in the discussion and we have input because we’re committed to getting this right,” Davidson indicated.
While aware that the time frame might be tight given the pace with which the government is moving ahead with Bill 63, Davidson indicated he is hopeful there will be sufficient time provided for a possible overhaul of the Education Act.
“Absolutely it’s not a matter of urgency in terms of time, and I am encouraged we will have the time to get this in place,” he said. He suggested that this could be an ideal way to build bridges among the education partners after what he called an erosion in those traditional partnerships.