HALIFAX – Atlantic Canada’s first comprehensive, independent, public evaluation of the education system is now available at newsstands. Grading our Future: Atlantic Canada’s High Schools’ Accountability and Performance in Context is available in the March 2003 issue of Progress magazine. Along with commentary and analysis, a pull-out booklet with all schools rated in the study is included in the magazine.

The Report Card has been the subject of intense media attention and public debate since its original release March 6th. Now thousands of readers throughout Atlantic Canada will be able to evaluate this rich, complex picture of the unique nature and performance of each high school in the region.

Reaction to the study has been as varied as it was swift. Letters to the editor in papers around the region included these supportive these comments.

“Finally, thanks to the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, we are given a glimpse of what our schools look like compared to each other.”- Carl Sollows, Halifax (Chronicle-Herald March 12, 2003)

“Schools can rate our students with a number or a letter, but God forbid we rate our schools in a similar fashion! With such poor results recently on provincial math tests, it is time that our schools were held accountable for the quality of education our students are receiving. We, as taxpayers, should demand nothing less.” – Shelagh Wolfe, Dartmouth (Chronicle-Herald March 12, 2003)

The Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association attacked the study in their internal communications and in the media, however the goal of meaningful accountability within the public education system appears to be taking hold.

“Teachers are all for meaningful accountability. There are even ways to provide choice within a wholly public system. The NSTU in the next several months will be entering into discussion with our partners in public education, and with parents and community groups, as to what constitutes true accountability in a public education system.” – Brian Forbes, President NSTU

Editorials in Atlantic Canada have also been favourable.

It isn’t good enough when the bureaucracy is essentially accountable to only itself. A standard independent audit is a valuable tool to help the public hold the government and system to account. It is long overdue! Friday, March 7, 2003, The Moncton Times & Transcript.

This report will certainly stimulate discussion; it has already. Some of its harshest critics tell people not to even read the report, because it will only unduly concern parents about the prospects for their children — that is a most ostrich-like approach for someone to take, especially if they are working in the field of education. – Friday, March 7, 2003, St. John’s Telegram .

AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley said prior to the launch, “This report is the beginning of a long process to provide more accountability in our public education system. Many parents, students, taxpayers and individual teachers have told us what a powerful tool this will be in understanding what is really going on in our schools. On the other hand, some people clearly will not be happy with this Report Card. These people are generally the ones who may feel it will be used to assess their own performance. For the sake of our children, such unjustified fears cannot be allowed to prevent these major improvements in accountability.”

Dr. Rick Audas, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Administration, University of New Brunswick and Charles Cirtwill, AIMS Director of Operations wrote the Report Card.

In addition to the published version in Progress magazine, the full text of Grading our Future: Atlantic Canada’s High Schools’ Accountability and Performance in Context is also available on the AIMS website.

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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