The Nova Scotia Liberal government’s recently-announced reforms are part of a broader, troubling global trend in education.
The recommendations from Dr. Avis Glaze’s report will do nothing to improve the experience of students in Nova Scotia schools. They are a thinly-veiled attack on the teachers union, and an attempt to turn our community-focused education system into the problematic business-driven model prevalent in many U.S. states.
Even if it were true, as Dr. Glaze claims, that Nova Scotia’s students were consistently under-performing on standardized tests – and several observers have pointed out that the results cited in her report do not support this claim – there is no evidence to suggest that any of the proposed reforms will improve test scores.
The Liberal government must recognize that standardized test scores in a handful of subjects are by no means the measure we should use to evaluate how our schools are doing. Academics around the world oppose using large-scale test scores to make drastic changes to education policy. All these tests do are show the powerful effects of economic disparity on student learning.
Stephen McNeil’s Liberals say they want to improve student achievement, yet their proposed reforms do nothing to address the fact that one-fifth of Nova Scotia’s children live in poverty.
The Liberals have dragged their feet on changing rules that claw back child support for families on income assistance.
They stubbornly refuse to raise the minimum wage to anything close to a livable amount, condemning low-income parents and their families to live in poverty.
They have mismanaged the department that oversees the care of our most vulnerable children.
Addressing any one of these issues should be more of a priority than dissolving democratically elected school boards and creating new layers of educational bureaucracy. We oppose the Liberals’ agenda, and urge them to reconsider implementing these reforms so they may instead address the issues that truly have an impact in our children’s lives.