HALIFAX – Prince Edward Island’s Education Minister, the Hon. Chester Gillan, has reacted to Dr. Brian Lee Crowley’s open letter to Premier Pat Binns. While admitting more information on the public education system is necessary, the Minister dismissed the Institute’s Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools.

In reference to the AIMS study, the Minister, a teacher for 29 years, mirrored media releases from other education departments and teachers unions around the region, stating that “Ranking schools serves no educational purpose,” and “the quality of research is not good enough for any decision making purpose.” Although the Minister makes these claims, no evidence was presented in support of them.

Dr. Rick Audas, the primary researcher and Assistant Professor, Faculty of Administration at the University of New Brunswick insists, “The time has come for the education establishment to put its cards on the table or to admit they’re bluffing and fold. Either the departments of education and the teachers unions supply real evidence as to why they think our methods and our conclusions are invalid, or they must withdraw their unjustified criticism.”

Dr. Crowley, the President of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, noted in his March 19 open letter to the Premier, that during the process of collecting data for the first annual Report card on High Schools in Atlantic Canada, officials in the PEI Department of Education obstructed AIMS researchers. As no information was “readily available” from the department, Island schools were not included in the report.

In a press release also dated March 19, the Minister admitted the department is now initiating projects to improve accountability including the development of performance and outcome indicators, a review of the staffing and funding model for the school system and school-based improvement plans. While no specifics of these or any other projects were included in the press release, all of these moves reflect the central recommendations made in the AIMS study.

In response to this latest position from the Minister, Dr. Crowley said, “We are thrilled to see that the Department is moving to collect more of this valuable information. We are hopeful the data is publicly available for our next report card and provides some degree of transparency and accountability in the public education system. We applaud any effort of the Minister in this direction. This is precisely what we are asking for”

The AIMS Study is available in the March edition of Progress Magazine and is available on-line.

For further information, please contact:

Jordi Morgan
Director of Communications and Development
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
AIMS (902) 429-1143
Direct (902) 446-3532
Fax (902) 425-1393
jordimorgan@aims.ca