Getting the word out about Bill 72

My name is Danielle Duggan, I am a resident of Antigonish, a parent, and a concerned citizen in an active and vibrant community of engaged individuals.

I am urgently concerned that not enough media attention has been given to what Bill 72 means for rural communities.

I don’t think people realize that teachers, parents, students, principals, and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union are not the only stakeholders in this. It’s a centralization issue. It’s not about educational reform. Educational reform has been promised to follow this, but what will that look like? This Bill will affect all of us. And I am particularly concerned about its impact on regional/rural areas, as the dissolution of the school boards removes the sole vehicle for local communities to participate in education decisions and reforms.

The bill provides noting at all to replace our democratically elected representation. This is particularly concerning when you consider what it means for things like local school closure decisions, which in turn affect things like attraction and retention in our communities.

People may not realize what they are giving up. Here in Antigonish, we value our elected board tremendously because we were faced with ill-advised school closure decisions last year, and the elected school board was instrumental in helping the right decisions get made based on what makes sense for our community – not decision makers from Halifax.

The timeline for passing this legislation is helping to ensure that the public does not have enough opportunity to get informed, and I find that enormously concerning. With the bill passing, I want to see our local and provincial media do something on this aspect of the story

I’m doing my best to make that happen. I did a brief interview yesterday for a local radio station, but it’s just a music station and may not reach the right ears. I also got an on-line article in a local paper, but again, not reaching enough ears.

We have an active group of parents and School Advisory Council volunteers here eager to speak up and share our story and get the message out, but there just isn’t time, or a platform.

Danielle Duggan

Antigonish