After discussions earlier this month with Minister of Education Russ Marchuk and newly-appointed Deputy Minister of Education Dan Florizone, the Saskatchewan School Boards Association is encouraged and excited to begin working with our partners in education and government to shape a new direction in education for the benefit of all Saskatchewan students.
The government of Saskatchewan, school board members, school division administrators, teachers, students and their families all share a common and overarching goal – improved student achievement and success rates in our province. However, of late, the education plan and agenda for this province has been largely “Ministry-driven” and that approach has not resulted in the outcomes we all desire. Research supports and experience proves that the best educational decisions are those made closest to home, by those who best know and understand their communities. Saskatchewan is a large and diverse province – from the North, to sparsely populated rural school divisions, to large urban systems experiencing tremendous growth – each faces important and unique challenges.
These challenges have not and cannot be overcome with a centralized, “top down” approach. Instead, all education partners – from locally-elected school board leaders to the teachers and other staff in the classrooms of this province – must be engaged in developing and implementing a shared plan for success that produces positive results for children and youth.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association has received the commitment of the Deputy Minister to immediately begin developing an “education-sector” plan for publicly-funded Pre-Kindergarten-Grade 12 education in this province. The plan will be created by all education partners in Saskatchewan – the Ministry of Education, elected school board members, administrators and teachers in consultation with students, families and local communities. It is hoped that the draft plan will be completed by December 2013 and presented for approval to elected school boards and the government of Saskatchewan.
This approach bodes well for the success of Saskatchewan students and supports the Premier’s commitment to the continued growth and prosperity of our province. We are excited about this long-overdue change of direction. Our students deserve nothing less!
Janet Foord, President Saskatchewan School Boards Association