Founded in 2015, Educators for Social Justice Nova Scotia is an independently organized caucus of Nova Scotia Teachers Union members and allies, whose goal is to advocate for greater social justice in our schools and communities.
Meeting once a month in Halifax, the caucus is comprised of members from across the province, hailing from a variety of educational backgrounds. With input from NSTU elementary, secondary, and community college teachers, university professors, and independent educators, ESJNS is well poised to examine our education system and identify areas of focus to improve supports for Nova Scotia’s students and communities.
We believe in:
A robust, well-rounded public education system that supports social justice and challenges oppression
Education should be universally free and public. Curriculum should be rich, diverse, broad, culturally relevant and holistic, not narrowly focused on skills measured on standardized tests. We oppose the top-down “data-driven” agenda in our education system, which reduces education to a numbers game and removes meaning from learning. The education system should not just prepare students for “job-readiness”, but rather all aspects of participation in society. The education system must also actively challenge colonialism, racism, sexism and all systems of oppression, and encourage autonomy and self-determination for all peoples.
Strong contracts for education workers
Education workers, like all workers, deserve adequate compensation and working conditions as well as job protection. Teachers and other workers being valued by their employer creates better learning conditions for students. Strong contracts provide a foundation for improvements to the education system as a whole.
A democratic, participatory, member-driven union
Every member of a union should have the opportunity to engage meaningfully and regularly in union affairs, including participating in decision making. Union structures should facilitate rather than discourage member participation. Union leaders should seek out and encourage rank-and-file members to participate. Current union structures need to be re-examined and re-vamped in a way that builds grassroots power. Elected union leaders should be accountable and transparent in their dealings with members.
Educators have natural allies in parents, students, other unions, progressive education advocates, and community organizations. We seek to build and strengthen connections with community members in order to create the education system and the society we want to see. In a province where so many people struggle close to the poverty line, and with an extensive history and current reality of racism and colonialism, we believe it is necessary to work towards a fairer, more equitable society for all.