© Copyright Ron Brunton, 2018

New Directions

Over the last few years there has been an exceptional partnership developed among the major groups and agencies concerned with public education in Nova Scotia. The Department of Education, the regional school boards, the universities, the Nova Scotia Educational Leadership Consortium and the Nova Scotia Teachers Union have worked together to establish a common vision in some pivotal areas. The process began with the Education Professional Development Committee (EPDC) that mapped out a better approach to professional learning focusing on student learning and the research finding that when teachers are engaged in their own learning, students benefit. Two subsequent initiatives came out of the EPDC efforts. The first was the establishment of the Instructional Leadership Academy. EPDC noted that the principal was the key figure in encouraging learning within the school. The regional school boards indicated this was the weakness of their own leadership programs. The second development was another multi-partner group tasked with determining what professional learning communities would look like in our schools. The EPDC report identified collegial and collaborative professional learning as the key factor to promote student learning. The Report of the Professional Learning Community Study Group (alternate link) defined how they should be supported, advanced and developed in Nova Scotia. In July 2012, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and the NS Department of Education reached agreement on a number of critical topics for educators and education. The Report of the Joint Committee is the summation of these discussions and provides an important understanding of some critical issues. Now, as of March 2018, the Liberal Provincial government has shattered all of this. Principals and Vice-Principals have been stripped of their educational leadership role, all of the English school boards have been eliminated thereby removing the local and democratic voice in the system, teachers have had their collective rights trashed, and morale is at an all time low. The real problems identified by teachers, parents, the NSTU, and informed educators, have been ignored. It is a sad time for public education in Nova Scotia. In the long run, people will resist, however and in the long run, the education system will get better. Unfortunately, the near future is rather sad.