Thursday, 13 December 2018

Recent King’s journalism graduates Tundé Balogun and  Sandra Hannebohm want to cover news that traditional media in Nova Scotia overlook. To do so, they have founded the Objective, an independent news agency that will cover Black news in Nova Scotia and beyond. Check out the trailer for their first project, a work in progress about the school-to-prison pipeline for Black kids here in Nova Scotia. Please support Tundé and Sandra and help them finish the documentary. It’s important.

Teachers Union president Paul Wozney is not impressed with the first meeting of the government-appointed Provincial Advisory Council on Education (PACE). Presented as somewhat of a a replacement for disbanded school boards, it turns out PACE’s ‘meetings will not be public, and based on the sparse minutes of its first meeting the government intends to limit any actual influence the group can have on its decision making process and sweeping power over public schools.

Governments are increasingly using Social Impact Bonds as a method to finance what are broadly called social services. With social impact bonds governments repay investors only if the programs improve social outcomes, for example, lower unemployment or prison recidivism. The approach has been tried in Justice and corrections, skills training, public health, child welfare, services for seniors, early childhood development, education, homelessness, supports for people with physical disabilities, and mental health to name a few. But really it’s just another flavour of privatization, writes Danny Cavanagh.

Part 1 of educator Molly Hurd’s post on charter schools ended with the question “Why are AIMS and its relatives still promoting charter schools in Canada?” Part 2 answers that question, as Hurd’ looks at the US and other parts of Canada to show that there is serious money to be made in the charter school business. But public money is diverted, teachers roles are minimized, and students pay a hefty price.

Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Paul Wozney writes on the intricacies of reporting on class size caps, and offers suggestions on improving transparency in terms of that important issue. “Now that elected school boards are gone, it’s imperative that parents are armed with the knowledge they need to advocate on behalf of their children. They must have the facts so they can hold the government directly accountable and ensure commitments that impact their children are met,” writes Wozney.

Educator Molly Hurd takes a closer look at all the hype about charter schools, most recently coming from the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), a right wing think tank. Their case is based on dubious claims, and would not be feasible in Nova Scotia regardless, writes Hurd.

The provincial government is engaged in an orchestrated effort to move education jobs out of the union sphere. 1000 school principals, 200 or more school psychologists and speech and language pathologists, social workers and new positions in the expanding Schools Plus program will no longer be unionized. “While this may be a less sensational way of weakening the unions than, say, imposing wage freezes and concessions that force teachers and other education workers out onto the picket line, it poses no less a threat to their very existence,” writes John McCracken.