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I believe in the public education system.
I was pleased, therefore, when my morning paper carried an item that “elected trustees” is back on the agenda.
Government was seeking public input; I decided to write a letter of support. First, however, I reviewed the Schools Act and scanned a few items on the internet.
My review of Department of Education documents revealed two items of concern. First, the department describes its role as one of “developing and delivering programs” to the young. I beg to differ. I believe that the department should encourage all Islanders to improve their education; whether or not government pays for all education is a different question. Secondly, as the World Bank points out, ministries need to understand that going to school and getting an education are not the same thing; the department literature does not always make that clear.
The key to whether boards are useful, I concluded, depends on the decisions they are allowed or encouraged to make. Based on my own experience and recent documents from the Montreal Economic Institute, the OECD and the World Bank, I feel that the province should first update its education vision statement. With a well-defined vision, the matter of an appropriate structure will be more evident. Only then can we decide the role of schools and whether or not trustees are needed or beneficial.
For the record, Education 2020 Inc. published some recommendations on education in April 2015 with the first recommendation being the development of “a clear and compelling vision of education for all Islanders”. I believe this to be a first step in the improvement process.