A ministerial panel is recommending big changes to the way education is delivered in Nova Scotia.
In a report titled Disrupting the Status Quo, the six-member panel says half of Nova Scotians surveyed are not satisfied with the public school system. The panel calls that "unacceptable."
There are 30 recommendations in the report, including:
- Streamline the curriculum across all grades
- Redesign elementary curriculum to focus primarily on math and literacy
- Establish stringent criteria for admission to teacher education
- Improve hiring practices to give new teachers more opportunity to get work
- Ensure all teachers are qualified for current assignments
- Give school boards greater power to dismiss teachers who underperform
- Increase the number of credits needed to graduate from 18 to 21
- Examining how inclusion is working to meet the needs of all students
- Restructure the Department of Education and School Boards
The "blue ribbon" panel was set up last February by Education Minister Karen Casey. At the time, she said "everything is on the table" in terms of reform.
Yesterday, Casey said she wasn't interested in simply "tinkering" with a system that has been through too many small changes in recent years.
The panel was chaired by former teacher and former Lt.-Gov. Myra Freeman. It included another teacher, a mother of three boys, a long-time public school administrator, as well as a vice president at Cape Breton University.
More than 19,000 people responded to the panel's call for public submissions on reforming the P-12 school system. Most filled out an online survey, but the panel also received emails and letters from parents, students and teachers.