The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation voted 85% in support of a four-year agreement with the province.
The agreement does not include any provisions about class complexity in the agreement, but STF President Patrick Maze says this does not mean concerns teachers have about class complexity have been addressed.
Maze said it’s clear teachers want to put the contract negotiations behind them.
“There’s a lot on a teacher’s plate right now with offering distanced learning and trying to get resources online for students and responding to student needs,” Maze said. “Then also concerns about what’s going to happen in September, and wanting to be at their best for students returning to school when they eventually come back in.”
However, Maze says teachers recognize how the world has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and settling their contract dispute allows them to focus on supporting their students by adapting their teaching strategies and providing quality remote learning for the rest of this school year.
To address the classroom complexity concerns, the STF says they will participate in a provincial class size and composition committee, which is modeled after the Education Sector Response Planning Team. The STF says they remain cautiously optimistic about this collaborative approach.
Maze says the province now has the ball in their court to prove why class size and composition shouldn’t be part of a contract with teachers.
“We’re giving trust in government to see some results in the class composition committee and to see better learning environments, improved learning environments for students and to see our students properly supported for excellence in education,” Maze said. “It’s up to government now, and they’ve got a lot of pressure on them to make sure they do the right thing.”
The agreement will run until August 31, 2023. Teachers will receive zero percent in year one, but two percent in each of the next three years.The provincial government has promised to create new education regulations that would urge school boards to provide the STF with a list of substitute teachers each school year.