New Brunswick — Back in April the Government of New Brunswick announced a plan to cut 249 teaching jobs in the province in the coming year, but gave little information on how it planned to do so. Today, Finance Minister Roger Melanson unveiled the government’s plan to bring the commitment to fruition.
“We’re cutting Grade 9,” he announced in a press conference held in front of Bathurst High School. “Starting next year, students will transition from Grade 8 directly into Grade 10 — that should just about take care of all of the cuts we require.”
Melanson went on to explain that this decision was made with a great deal of deliberation between himself and his cabinet ministers. “We all gathered as a team to play some Catan one night and we were just brainstorming ideas,” he recalled. “I remember that Vic was closing in on the win; he just needed one more piece to get the longest road and Brian was getting really agitated that we weren’t just letting him win so he called an emergency meeting to discuss how we were going to make the cuts.”
The Manatee learned that it was actually Deputy Premier Stephen Horsman who first came up with the idea of simply cutting out the ninth grade. “We were all sitting around the room going over everything — everyone except Victor I should say… he was still pouting that he didn’t win the game,” said Horsman. “That’s when I just said something like ‘Fourteen-year-olds are all a bunch of jerks who don’t want to learn anything anyway,’ and the idea kind of grew from there.”
The group of ministers decided that Grade 9 seemed the most responsible to cut; it’s often viewed as the most difficult year for students to adjust, due to it being their first year of high school, not to mention students are usually going through puberty at that age.
It was also decided that even with the elimination of Grade 9, there will still be grades 10, 11 and 12 rather than the grades ending at 11. “We didn’t want to be known as the province that allows kids to graduate after Grade 11,” expressed Melanson. “Furthermore, just getting rid of Grade 9 altogether doesn’t create a lot of paperwork changes or anything — it would be a lot of work to have to change all of the Grade 12 stuff to Grade 11 and so on.”
Reactions were mixed throughout the province, with some business owners celebrating the bold move by the Liberal government. “This will really help me find workers,” said an excited Joshua Brown, who runs an independent grocery store in Sackville. “It’s been really difficult to find people who are willing to work for minimum wage lately and this decision will force youth into the workforce a year sooner and really widen the pool of potential employees.”
“This is ridiculous!” complained Laura Thibideau, who is about to finish Grade 9 at Leo Hayes in Fredericton. “Now I’ll have to be in Grade 10 with a bunch of kids — this is going to be literally the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, besides that zit I had on picture day.”
The Manatee asked Education Minister Victor Boudreau about the threat of drastically increasing class sizes in the new Grade 10. “We’ve already started troubleshooting that,” he answered confidently. “We’re thinking about taking desks out of those classrooms so they won’t be so crowded and implementing a ‘stand and learn’ program for Grade 10 students — we’re still ironing out the details.”