Some priorities for education
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