Part One: The Results Are In: AIMS’ 2004 High Schools Report Card released
Institute lauds provinces’ commitments to improve information on school performance and accountability; says more is needed

AIMS challenged educators to let the public know even more about what is going on in schools around the region as it released its second annual report card on Atlantic Canadian high schools. AIMS’ president, Brian Lee Crowley, says the report is a good news/bad news story, “The good news is that thanks to AIMS’ efforts we know more about what’s happening in our schools than before we started our report card. Within a month of the release of our first report card, every province in the region announced new school performance and accountability measures, and we think the huge public interest in the report card encouraged provinces to be more forthcoming. The bad news is that in a world where educational excellence is the foundation of success, we have too few schools performing at that level.”

The report card, co-authored by AIMS’ vice-president Charles Cirtwill and Memorial University of Newfoundland professor Rick Audas, is the second annual comparative analysis of the performance of schools throughout the region. This year the report card is based on much richer and more varied data provided by school boards, departments of education and post secondary institutions.

The report card is also being released in the March issue of Progress magazine for distribution throughout the region. Visit the Progress website at

Province by province overview of results:
Newfoundland and Labrador
New Brunswick Anglophone
New Brunswick Francophone
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island

Part Two: New edition of “Ideas Matter,” featuring Edmonton School Superintendent Angus McBeath, gives background of AIMS’ education reform work

The AIMS Education and School Reform Initiative is a broader approach to the state of education in Canada. Drawing on extensive research and consultation over an eight-year period, AIMS is drawing together ideas, research and analysis to stimulate the debate on how our schools work, what they are achieving and how the results can be improved. AIMS reports on progress in school reform with an emphasis on transparency, efficiency and accountability for educational outcomes, as well as experimentation with innovative forms of school governance. This initiative is designed to focus the attention of policy makers and opinion leaders on measurable yardsticks of educational progress.

In this latest edition of AIMS’ publication Ideas Matter, Edmonton’s superintendent of public schools, Angus McBeath, brings the wealth of his experience in Alberta to an Atlantic Canadian audience. Also in this edition are highlights of AIMS’ conference on educational reform, articles from some of the leading thinkers in this field, and of course, the impact of AIMS’ groundbreaking first report card on Atlantic Canadian high schools.


Part Three:  How Smart is “Smart Growth”?

International expert challenges urban planning assumptions in AIMS’ most recent “Urban Futures” paper

“Urban sprawl” Concern over this low-density suburban development in Canada, the United States, Australasia, Western Europe and Japan has prompted an “anti-sprawl” policy agenda often referred to as “smart growth.”  In general, smart growth involves establishing intrusive and arbitrary controls on land use.  It prohibits urban development outside “urban growth boundaries,” increases neighbourhood population densities and tries to substitute mass transit for highways to accommodate population growth. In the latest paper in AIMS’ Urban Futures project, “Smart Growth”: Threatening the quality of life, author Wendell Cox challenges the many assumptions promoted by smart growth advocates. Mr. Cox, an international expert in transportation policy and demographics says, “The justification for smart growth rests on faulty foundations.  The anti-suburban advocates have failed to identify any problem that requires such policy interventions.”

How urban planners are threatening the quality of life in our cities.  A Talk by Wendell Cox

In spite of the challenges in the wake of the Great Halifax Snowstorm of 2004, AIMS persevered with its plans to put internationally recognised urban development expert Wendell Cox in front of an audience of Atlantic Canadians concerned about urban development issues. Instead of the planned lunch, we managed to stage a well-attended but less formal talk in the Empress Boardroom of the Delta Halifax Hotel. In his talk, Wendell Cox delivered a compelling argument against the assumptions of “Smart Growth” proponents. “Smart Growth” advocates, among other things, densification of cities and strategies designed to remove choice from those seeking homeownership. Wendell Cox, a respected international consultant in both demographics and transportation, argues this is a recipe for urban decline and social injustice.

Part Four: AIMS asks in National Post: Why not “Europeanize” healthcare?

By opening up a European health care market so that patients may travel and use the health care services they deem necessary without the permission or interference of their national health care authorities, the EU has laid the groundwork for a consumer-driven revolution in health care. One of the EU’s key jobs has always been the removal of all the obstacles to the free movement of people as well as goods, services and capital. Now Europeans suffering from medical ailments have that freedom too.

How different from Canada. Here provincial bureaucrats decide if a treatment available in another province is something they will pay for, and if so, how much they will reimburse. They decide if the waiting times for various procedures are too long, and therefore whether to give permission to get those procedures elsewhere. In this commentary from the March 1, 2004 National Post AIMS president Brian Lee Crowley and Johan Hjertqvist, the director of the Health Consumer Policy Centre of the Swedish think tank Timbro, in Stockholm, argue if Canadian health care consumers, who are asking for ever more authority over their health and their lives, are to succeed in getting it, Europe is showing the way.


Part Five: AIMS dans La Presse. Responsabiliser les malades: Une innovation qui marche

Nous disposons maintenant de preuves montrant que les malades sont parfaitement capables de décider quels sont leurs propres intérêts et de prendre des décisions éclairées sur la façon de dépenser l’argent qui leur est alloué pour leurs soins. Ces preuves sont fournies par une expérience innovatrice appelée Cash and Counselling (C&C- qu’on pourrait traduire par du Comptant et des Conseils) et menée dans le cadre du programme Medicaid en Arkansas, en Floride et au New Jersey. Le C&C est un ” projet de démonstration ” spécial qui consiste à faire exactement cela. Et il connaît un succès extraordinaire; les gens font la queue pour y participer là où il existe et des programmes semblables sont mis en oeuvre dans d’autres États pour répondre à la demande.