HALIFAX, Nov. 1 /CNW/ - The Nova Scotia School Boards Association (NSSBA)
says an additional $30 million above base costs is needed to continue
improving our public education system and to help students achieve better
results in school.
"We want to ensure that education remains a priority as the government
decides how it will spend taxpayers' money in the 2008-2009 budget," says
NSSBA President Elliott Payzant.
Payzant says the NSSBA will underline the need for further funding during
the Premier's Forum on Student Achievement, which is being held at Citadel
High School in Halifax on Saturday, November 3rd.
"If we get public school funding right for the province's 135,000
students, then Nova Scotia is set for the next 60 years," says Payzant.
"Clearly the government recognizes that investing in education is investing in
the future. There is a political will to continue making improvements".
The government spent $30 million above base costs on education in
2005-2006 and again in 2006-2007, and this helped fund programs that led to
improved academic performance and smaller class sizes. But Payzant says
funding fell far short of those levels last year and Nova Scotia remains
second last in the country in terms of per student expenditure by province.
"We have made great strides in our public education system in recent
years, but we must do more now for our children or we risk falling behind," he
"School boards have used funding they have received wisely and made a
real difference for students. However we still have a long way to go and all
of the good work is at risk if education fails to remain a priority," says Ron
Marks, chair of the association's Lead & Achieve Education Action Plan.
NSSBA says more money for education could be targeted on a five-point
action plan which includes:
- Aligning the curriculum that students are taught in P-12 schools with
the skills and outcomes required for the next generation of citizens in
our province, country and the world. This will require a comprehensive,
research-based plan and disciplined implementation.
- Continuing to support students with diverse needs through customized
programs such as the Options and Opportunities Programs and new
vocational training, along the lines of Memorial Composite High School.
- Improving inter-agency and intergovernmental collaboration between
organizations that help students at risk as recommended by the Nunn
- Sustaining the focus on schools as Professional Learning Communities
where teachers, principals and other support staff have the time and
tools to share best practices.
- Continuing collaboration between the NSSBA, the Department of
Education, teachers, parents, students and other partners dedicated to
improving academic performance.
"We believe this action plan, when implemented, will help ensure Nova
Scotia continues progress toward student achievement," Marks says.
The NSSBA is the provincial voice for school boards, representing
approximately 135,000 students. The association has been serving school
boards since 1954.
NSSBA 5-point action plan for 2008-2009
November 1, 2007
Nova Scotia's public school system provides education for 135,000
students and these students are our future. Each year, the Nova Scotia School
Boards Association (NSSBA) develops priorities to continue on the path of
improving student achievement. For several years, the NSSBA has been at the
forefront in developing policy and standards to meet the educational needs and
expectations of students and parents in a modern world. Much good work has
been done in a continuing effort to improve the system and the performance of
our students and we need to continue this focus.
Collaboration and hard work have been a huge part of this success. So,
too, has adequate funding. In 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 the provincial
government provided funding increases of $30 million for each year above basic
per student spending. This year (2007-2008) only modest additional funding was
made available. The NSSBA says this is unsustainable. Nova Scotia remains
second last on the list of expenditure per student in Canada.
In short, the province has come a long way, but there is a long way to
go. If we are to keep improving our school system and student achievement,
then the provincial government must continue to invest strategically in
NSSBA says an additional $30 million above base costs is needed to
continue improving our public education system and to help students achieve
better results in school.
In September 2007, the Lead and Achieve committee of NSSBA brought
together diverse stakeholders to identify the best ways to continue to improve
public school education in Nova Scotia.
The group included Lead and Achieve committee members, board chairs,
superintendents, program directors and the executive director of the
Association of Nova Scotia Educational Administrators.
The result of these deliberations is a five-point action plan:
1 Public School Program/Curriculum Alignment
- Objective: Align the curriculum that students are taught in P-12
schools with the skills and outcomes required for the next generation
of citizens in our province, country and the world. This will require
a comprehensive, research-based plan and disciplined implementation.
Tactics: Establish a review team of experts from NSSBA, universities
and the Department of Education to evaluate our current curriculum.
The review should examine the following:
- The need to align expected student outcomes with what is
taught in class
- Establishing a process to ensure integration of technology,
student services, assessment and evaluation with outcomes
- How the public school program will engage students
- How to ensure the program is relevant in the information age
- How to achieve better math and literacy test results
- How to work collaboratively to develop a futuristic,
research-based educational plan for Nova Scotia
2 Diversity of Learning Styles
Objective: Continue to support students with diverse learning
requirements through customized programs in the classroom
- Expand the concept of the Memorial Composite High School
Vocational program to each school board
- Continue to expand the Options and Opportunities Program
- Include programs for all students, including gifted students
and those with special needs
3 Interagency collaboration and action
Objective: Improve inter-agency and intergovernmental collaboration
between organizations that help students at risk as recommended by
the Nunn Commission.
- Implement the Nunn Report Recommendations
- Increase the quantity and quality of interventions
- Monitor the activities and progress of the Youth Strategy
Division (Department of Community Services)
4 Professional Learning Communities
Objective: Sustain the focus on schools as Professional Learning
Communities (PLCs) where teachers, principals and other support staff
have the time and tools to share best practices.
- Allocate time for Professional Learning Communities
professional development in the regular school day
- Support PLCs with funding
5 NSSBA as a Strategic Partner
Objective: Continued collaboration between the NSSBA, the Department
of Education, teachers, parents, students and other partners
dedicated to improving academic performance.
- NSSBA welcomes the opportunity and stresses the importance of
consultation and collaboration with all education stakeholders
prior to changes or new initiatives in public education
For further information:
For further information: Elliott Payzant, president, NSSBA, (902)
682-2662 (H); (902) 491-2854 (O); (902) 541-0116 (cell); Cassie Naas,
communications co-ordinator, NSSBA, (902) 491-2860, firstname.lastname@example.org