Choosing Better Schools

In 1997, AIMS indicated its interest in educational and school reform by holding a conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick on the theme of “Choosing Better Schools.” AIMS Second Annual Conference examined a number of exciting ideas in education, which could contribute to the betterment of problem facing Atlantic Canada’s education system.

Atlantic Canadians lag behind other Canadians in both numeracy and literacy sklills, and many areas in the Atlantic provinces now face the additional problem of school closures.

Yet skills of our young people are key to our economic future. And our competitors, particularly in New England, are aggresively implementing new strategies in education that are producing remarkable results.

The central idea is school choice – enabling parents and students to choose their own schools and allowing schools to compete to provide the best education. The newest wave of school choice began with one charter school in Minnesota in 1991 and has spread across the United States – at the time of the conference in 1997, virtually all New England states either had charter legislation or have such legislation pending.

AIMS conference examined chartering and other approaches to school choice.

Listed below are a number of the papers that AIMS has published on the subject of school reform since that date. With the exception of Charter Schools in Atlantic Canada and Do school boards add value to education.

The British Experience with Grant Maintained Schools
by Olive Newlands of the Grant Maintained Schools Centre, England.

The Economics of Choice: Assessing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Alternative Approaches to Choice in Education by Prof. Stephen B. Lawton, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 1996

Issues of Parental Involvement and Governance: What Can be Learned from the Nova Scotia Pilot Schools by Prof. Robert B. MacMillan, Dept. of Education, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS.
The Challenges Facing Canada’s Public Schools: A Diagnosis
Keynote address by Prof. Mark Holmes

Thirty Years of School Choice: What Do We Know About its Impact? by Chester E. Finn Jr., John M. Olin Fellow, Fordham Foundation, USA.