Schools and communities, not the provincial minister, should call the shots when it comes to education, says a new report by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

And trying to fix school governance with small tweaks doesn’t address the real issue, co-authors Charles Cirtwill and Bobby O’Keefe said in a news release Thursday.

“Real solutions to fixing accountability can be found in several places around the globe,” Mr. Cirtwill said.

“Edmonton, New Zealand and even New Orleans have found that the solution to fixing their education problems is to make schools directly accountable to the communities they serve, as well as giving those schools and their communities the power to run their schools in the best way possible for the community.”

Education Minister Karen Casey dissolved the Strait regional school board in May after determining that personal squabbles were making it ineffective. She replaced the entire board with one man: board chairman John Sears.

Ms. Casey had done the same with the Halifax regional school board in 2006, replacing it with Howard Windsor.

Both school boards and the others in the province will elect new boards on Oct. 18.

In the report titled Yes, Minister is a No-No: Why Good Television Makes for Bad Education Policy, AIMS says the entire school board system needs a major overhaul.

Boards should be accountable to parents, students and the wider community, it says.

The report also says the Education Department is using the school board struggles as a “smokescreen for further centralization.”

“Ten years ago, Nova Scotia opened the lid on this discussion and it was slammed shut by the education establishment in this province,” Mr. Cirtwill said in the release.

“The current ‘crisis’ in board governance is just the crowbar we need to force the box open again.”

AIMS bills itself as an independent, non-partisan, public policy think-tank in Halifax.