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May 30, 2006

Canada's Education Secret

Imagine a public school system where families are encouraged to go shopping for the school of their choice. Imagine that the choice includes a sports school, an art school, a military academy, a religious school, and Mandarin immersion. Imagine a world where all the school results are public, where schools compete for kids, and the bad schools are shutdown. Imagine a world where the students regularly outperform the rest of Canada.

Margaret Wente.jpg
So begins an article by Margret Wente about the public schools of Edmonton, Canada. This 80,000 student district has long been known for its decentralization of decisions to local school. While many school districts have claimed site-based or school-based management, few did more than adopt the words. Edmonton piloted site-based decision making in the 1970s and went systemwide by the mid-1980s under the leadership of a forward-looking superintendent, Mike Strembitsky. Remarkably, the district continued and extended the program to include parental choice of schools after his retirement in the mid-1990s.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at May 30, 2006 07:40 PM


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