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Levin's Report on Education Released

posted May 5, 2011, 11:10 AM by Concerned Parents   [ updated May 6, 2011, 6:34 AM ]
Ben Levin's report on the NS Education System was released today.  The report concludes with five main recommendations, as outlined in the Department of Education's press release they are:

1.  Reduce failure throughout the Nova Scotia education system by providing targeted funding to help students, including those with special needs, succeed

2.  Improve daily teaching, learning, and assessment practices by identifying best practices and working with parents to find effective ways to help students

3.  Allow more things to "count" as learning and earn school credentials, such as programs that develop knowledge and skills through independent learning

4.  Build public support and engagement by establishing and reporting on a small number of goals

5. Make better use of facilities and resources by closing schools that are underutilized

The most troubling recommendation, for Concerned Parents and Community Members working to Save Community Schools, is how the Department of Education's press release phrased recommendation five, vs how that recommendation is highlighted in the actual report "Making Better Use of Existing Facilities and Resources" - the executive Summary for Recommendation 5 makes NO reference to the closure of schools, and as such the province, and the public, shouldn't accept the suggestion that school closures is a necessary component to the achievement of "better use of facilities and resources", as the provincial press release suggests..

It is concerning to think the province's Department of Education may not be as committed to "make sure that we have our community schools open for our students" (Minister of Education, January 21, 2011 in The Chronicle Herald) as they have led us to believe. 

On the other hand, the proof will be in the pudding, as we wait an official response from the Minister of Education as to what the province will do, with respect to the recommendations in the Levin Report.  A commitment to community schools will see the province take the initiative to increase utilization of existing school facilities that are considered "underutilized" to maintain high education standards and increase other service offerings in these often rural communities, and a strengthening of the School Review Process through the adoption of the December 2009 focus group recommendation 4, to require school boards to provide an independent consultant/facilitator to Study Committees.

The Department of Education has posted a survey for community feedback.  The survey will be available until June 15, 2011 - you are encouraged to share your views on the Levin report, and particularly recommendation five.

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Department of Education Press Release is available here
The complete Levin Report is available here
The Department of Education survey is available here (until June 15, 2011)

News Coverage:
CBC.ca - Report calls for N.S. school closures
The Chronicle Herald - Close schools to save money, consultant tells N.S.
The Chronicle Herald - It makes sense to merge - South Shore board chairman
Metro - A blueprint for education
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