Some pri­or­i­ties for ed­u­ca­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

The be­gin­ning of a new year en­cour­ages one to re­view per­sonal pri­or­i­ties and do­ing so led me to think­ing about pri­or­i­ties in ed­u­ca­tion. It is not a sub­ject of­ten dis­cussed or, at least, not dis­cussed pub­licly. To those of us on the out­side, it ap­pears that each year of­fi­cials re­view the rel­e­vant sta­tis­tics, ap­ply the ap­pro­pri­ate for­mula, add a few dol­lars for spe­cial ini­tia­tives and present it to the leg­is­la­ture for ap­proval – and all of this will be done with lit­tle if any sig­nif­i­cant in­put by front line teach­ers and prin­ci­pals.

Be­ing con­scious of the size of the ed­u­ca­tion bud­get, the de­sir­abil­ity of free­dom and ac­count­abil­ity at the school level and the de­sir­abil­ity of com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, let me pro­pose an al­ter­na­tive bud­get process for 2016:

— Freeze the ed­u­ca­tion bud­get at the 2015 level.

— Re­serve funds at each school for ba­sic skills of math, science, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and a com­puter lan­guage.

— Al­low prin­ci­pals to de­cide other of­fer­ings within their al­lo­ca­tion and in con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity they serve.

— Es­tab­lish an in­no­va­tion fund to which schools could ap­ply for spe­cial project fund­ing

This would give the gov­ern­ment the con­trol it needs, sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease school au­ton­omy as rec­om­mended by the OECD, and make for sig­nif­i­cant com­mu­nity en­gage­ment — all im­por­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics of a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. Don Glen­den­ning, A long-time stu­dent of ed­u­ca­tion

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