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Consultant hired to help with school review process

posted Apr 25, 2011, 7:00 PM by Concerned Parents
Concerned Parents and Community Members, particularly in NS communities with schools currently placed under review, please consider petitioning your School Board to budget to provide a consultant to support your Study Committee's response to the Board's Impact Assessment.

There was a focus group that made several recommendations to the Department of Education and one of those recommendations was to acknowledge that parents and community members are not necessarily researchers, nor are they necessarily well versed in the legislation and regulations governing education, and as such a support from an education consultant would help level the playing field between the Board and Communities and also help speed the process along - which explains why in 2011-2012 there is less time for the Study Committee to respond than in 2010-2011.

The former Minister of Education opted to accept a recommendation to give School Boards MORE time to complete their Impact Assessments but REDUCE the time communities have to prepare their response.  She opted to accept one recommendation made by the focus group, which favors School Boards, but NOT accept the recommendation made to balance the change in dates, which would benefit the parents and community members on the Study Committee.

Please note however that there is nothing in the regulations that prevents Boards from providing consultants to Study Committees, and we've heard (but not verified) Halifax has provided consultant(s) in the past and more recently the Cape Breton board has hired a consultant for 2011-2012.

Note - it is currently budget preparation time so although Study Committees will only officially be struck in the fall, you are encouraged to begin petitioning your Board Members today to have funds budgeted for this service - it will be all too easy for the Board to claim "but we didn't budget for a consultant" when the fall comes around.

Also, may we suggest communities consider Dr. Paul Bennett or Dr. Mike Corbett as potential education consultants?  Both are active in education and both have expressed their support for community schools and challenge the "bigger is better" mentality that supports closure of smaller, often rural, community schools.  These two individuals, certainly much more so than Mr. Burton, are likely to actually act in the best interest of communities working to respond to the Board's Impact Assessment reports.

"The Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School has hired the region’s former education officer to serve as a consultant during the upcoming school review process."

Cape Breton Post