New Brunswick

Education panel seeks input in developing 10-year strategy

The Gallant government is writing a new 10-year education plan and it is looking for public input to determine how to improve the system and better meet the needs of all students.

Co-chair Karen Power says input from the public will be key in crafting a long-term plan

The Gallant government is writing a new 10-year education plan and it is looking for public input as it pledges to remove politics from education planning.

Karen Power, who is a former district superintendent and now co-chair of the committee that will write the new plan, says the goal is to create an education system that is stable and doesn't change every four years when a new government is elected.

"It's really important for us to have a focus," she said in an interview on Information Morning Moncton Thursday.

The students themselves are saying they want to be engaged and they want to have more expected of them.- Karen Power

"We have had a lot of initiatives in New Brunswick, we've had a lot of things change and people are looking for stability and focus on the right work."

A discussion paper released on Wednesday invites people to share their ideas by filling out an online survey, making an online submission or attending one of 11 open houses being held across New Brunswick.

The discussion paper lays out several topics ranging from excellence in teaching, to support for all learners, to the school calendar.

"The students themselves are saying they want to be engaged and they want to have more expected of them," Power said.

Power said she is encouraging people to "think outside the box" and says many ideas from other jurisdictions will be considered.

"There are many schools for example that have 12-month school years with nine weeks on, three week breaks," she said.

"We have different ways that we can capture the professional learning days for teachers and put them in one place in the year."

Power admits she is not sure how open New Brunswickers will be to such dramatic changes but says she is going into the process with "energy and optimism."

Recommendations will be made in the report, and Power says she expects they will impact future funding decisions in the future.

"Most important to me is that we're really looking at what do we want our students to graduate with in New Brunswick and what are the quality pieces, what are the quality programs we need, how do we get there with the instructional time that we have what's the best use of that time?"

Power expects to submit the report to the minister of education in late winter.

The 10-year education plan was a major campaign commitment from the Liberals in 2014. 

"For too long, the priorities in our education system have been flipped upside down every time the government has changed," Gallant said in September 2014.

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