Media Release


More control for parents and communities is best way to reform schools

Halifax – 26 February 2018: By switching control of education from school district to school site, Nova Scotia could create a more effective, accountable, and responsive school system, according to Dr. Paul Bennett in Re-Engineering Education: curing the accountability and democratic deficit in Nova Scotia.

Bennett’s new study for the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies proposes a school-based management option that would reduce governance to two levels: the department and the school. It allows for the elimination of school boards while addressing the lingering questions of accountability and democratic representation. School-Governing Councils would have authority in ten critical areas, including:

• setting school priorities,
• developing a school budget and improvement plans,
• making recommendations on the hiring and dismissing of principals,
• appointing principals and staff, and
• producing community accountability reports.

SGCs would be composed of 10 to 12 members, elected at the school level, with seven seats reserved for parents, two for community members, one for a local employer, and two staff, including the principal. One member would be selected to represent the school on external provincial and regional governance bodies, such as the proposed district education development council.

“Bennett’s new report focuses on finding effective solutions to parental representation and school accountability so that our schools can get on with their primary goal, which is to educate our children” said AIMS president and CEO Marco Navarro-Genie.

The new approach would group schools into four districts sharing common support services such as financial, facilities management, transportation, and purchasing services.

“Decentralizing can improve student outcomes, streamline administration, and increase community ownership over schools,” said author Paul Bennett. “It is the opposite of the centralization of education administration implicit in the current plan.

”Cost-savings would be redirected to school-community development and designated education improvement zones to address inequities at the school-community level.”

“Edmonton public schools, New Zealand, Australia, and four American states (Arizona, Kentucky, Illinois, and Washington) have already successfully embraced a major decentralization of decision-making from the school district to the school site,” said Bennett.

Read the study here

For more information or to arrange an interview (Media only), please contact: 
Alex Whalen, Operations Manager
T: 902-429-1143 x231
E: alex.whalen@aims.ca

About AIMS:

AIMS is a Canadian non-profit, non-partisan think tank that provides a distinctive Atlantic Canadian perspective on economic, political, and social issues. The Institute sets the benchmark on public policy by drawing together the most innovative thinking available from some of the world’s foremost experts and applying that thinking to the challenges facing Canadians. AIMS was incorporated as a non-profit corporations under Part II of the Canada Corporations Act and was granted charitable registration by Revenue Canada as of 3 October 1994. It received US charitable recognition under 501(c)(3), effective the same date.