The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation has announced that the next round of job action will be a second one-day province-wide strike held on Monday, January 22. The first one-day strike was held on Tuesday, January 16.
“Despite solidarity from across the country and overwhelming public support, the government is not listening and refuses to engage in meaningful conversation,” stated the STF in a release.
“The day after our first strike action, rather than acknowledging the outstanding efforts of teachers, the Minister [of Education] attempted to make it all about salary demands. If he had been paying attention, he’d know our job action was about so much more than that,” said Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Samantha Becotte. “We’re seeking long-term commitments from the government on critical issues impacting students, including class size and complexity – not patchwork pilot projects that don’t fix the systemic issues in our schools.”
The STF says that new data from the Ministry of Education shows significant enrolment growth from 2022-23 to 2023-24, which is three percent or 5,658 students provincewide. Nearly 75 percent of school divisions in Saskatchewan experienced this uptick. Meanwhile, the STF stated that teacher staffing numbers have declined by almost two percent for 2022-23.
“Our government’s own data shows ballooning enrolment in the majority of our school divisions, but teachers and other critical resources aren’t keeping pace with this growth,” added Becotte. “The math is simple: More students with fewer teachers means class sizes are growing. Students are facing long wait times for special supports such as psychologists and speech-language pathologists. Others are simply falling through the cracks, despite the best efforts of teachers and school staff. There is simply not enough support.”
Since the STF announced its first round of sanctions on January 11, over 16,000 calls and emails have been delivered to the Premier and the Education Minister using Tell Them Tuesday.
“The support from parents, businesses, and students has been overwhelming. I urge everyone to contact their MLA on Tell Them Tuesday and ask them to get back to the table and address class size and composition with teachers,” Becotte said. “This is not a novel idea; other provinces have taken this approach. If the government continues down this path, student learning outcomes will suffer. Saskatchewan students deserve better than this.”