The New Brunswick Public School System (K-12) is Broken. It Cannot be patched it has to be replaced
As I researched this topic I tried to find a document that outlined “The Purpose of the Current New Brunswick Public Schools”. I was unable to find such a document.
Why do we have school in the first place? What is the purpose of schooling and teaching? If we don’t know what the mission and goals of school are it’s not possible to even know if we get there. We also don’t know if the target was missed. Interestingly, with all the focus in recent years on accountability of schools, you don’t see that much public discussion about the fundamental purpose of schools.
The Purposes of School
It is important in looking at the success of school that the purpose must be stated and be one of the guiding principles in the road map to success. I have researched school in other jurisdictions and below summarize the four major purposes of schooling that include:
I feel that these four purposes of school are applicable to New Brunswick. The fourth purpose is always based on the historical jurisdiction’s norms and not politically motivated social engineering to convert to the ideology of a political party. Social engineering has no place in school.
How does the current school system address the purposes as outlined? Based on national and international standard tests the current school system fails miserably. From what I have read and heard patching the existing system does not remove the human resources that broke the system so a new system under a new organization is the logical solutions.
The new organization could be similar to that established for the New Brunswick Community College. The question is how to transition a new system from one already in operation. You first create the new public school conceptual outline, the strategic plan to move to operations and the implementation strategy. You must identify the human resources required to implement the plan from within the classroom teaching ranks and the professionals with new skills required with the new school system from outside the existing system. The primary qualifications of existing staff are they are consistently assessed excellent in their professional and have been in the class room a minimum of 2 terms in the last five years. This criterion applies also to all in school staff and all pedagogical staff elsewhere. All existing curriculum developers will be reassigned since this function will no longer be required due to technological advancements and external pedagogical resources.
The new system will be integrated first into the areas that are the weakest identified solely the student and teacher. As one would expect we are looking for an effective and efficient school system based on the financial resources allocated by government and also other outside resources that want to contribute to the success of New Brunswick’s students and the province.
So what does this new approach look like? The next three posts will provide a better understanding
New Brunswick Incorporated to Replace New Brunswick Government
Originally posted in June 2014
I have spent most of my career in New Brunswick and in one way or another focused on strategic planning, project management, corporate turn around management. corporate governance and starting businesses both for profit and nonprofit. I also did my stint working for the government of NB.
In every private company be it a mature or a start up or a profit or nonprofit one consistency was that the driving force was either a corporate strategic plan or a business plan. If they did have either and were reluctant in developing plans these organizations failed. Another consistency was the corporate governance models being employed which focused on the accountability of the individuals at each level of the organization.
In the last election and previous governments the focus on action items have been on social, cultural, health care, education and anti-business collaboration. How has that worked out, it did not. The term that is always used is Government is here to serve the public. This is grossly inaccurate. The government is here to manage and increase the assets of New Brunswick being accountable to all taxpayers.
How do we create prosperity for New Brunswick citizens? If must be done through collaboration between all stakeholders. Each bring their strengths to focused agendas set in advanced with priorities consensus with constituent's approvals.
So how do we move to prosperity. We start by setting up New Brunswick Incorporate. What is the recommended first step of any new organization? CORPORATE STRATEGIC PLANNING.
My next post will outline the planning process and the priority areas to address. After the process is defined the next is organization.
Since this was posted in 2014 we have had a new government that have adopted a separate structure in name only but no long term planning undertaken. We are where we were, going backwards.
Governments’ Depopulation of Rural NB Strategy Inhibiting Local Economic Growth in Rural NB.
Originally Posted in the Spring of 2014
The first areas we are addressing are the Weaknesses and Threats to moving forward toward Social and Economic prosperity in Charlotte County. This exercise must deal with the reality of the environment and not the perceptions that are spun continually regarding our location and our people. This blog posting highlight a foundational challenge that has plagued Charlotte County for decades and if not recognized and managed will hurt or stop growth. This challenge is not caused by rural NB but we must overcome the business risk it creates and move forward.
Joey Smallwood’s (Ex-Premier of Newfoundland) legacy of moving Out Port (Rural) Newfoundlanders to St. John’s (Urban Centre) is being emulated in New Brunswick for over the last 2 decades. Under the guise (spin) of benefiting rural Newfoundlanders the relocation’s true motivation was to reduce the government’s cost of providing services to its rural citizens.
Policy after policy and action after action the governments’ way of addressing its responsibilities to its people outside of the major urban centers is to creating disincentives to stay in rural NB.
In Charlotte County the different levels of government express their desire for economic growth all the while through their actions and policies remove critical support services for its citizens and thus create disincentives for new businesses to relocate and local entrepreneurs to set up local businesses.
Historically and currently the government’s economic growth strategy for Charlotte County is to ensure through all means to maintain existing businesses at the expense of growth. You never win the game if you only play defense you only tie. Every business person knows that this strategy only leads to failure.
- - Enbridge’s apparent desire to price itself out of the rural market place in order to justify its removal from providing energy to rural NB to obtain a higher return from the sale of energy to urban centres and New England. The Government will comprise to Enbridge’s demands (non dependable or completive energy costs both globally and within the Province inhibits Charlotte County from being considered for relocation or start up)
- - NBPowers, which is not synonymous with hardworking linesmen as they have tried to spin it, has decided that short term return is paramount and it is reflected in its low priority in maintenance and disaster strategy which we have seen in the ice storm of 2013 and the floods earlier.(Significantly higher risk to business start up and relocation as show from past examples due to down time and undependable energy sources)
- - Grand Manan ferry service and transportation cost to individuals and business on the Island. (Value Added light industry risk is high due to partial off Island processing requirements and a disincentive to business relocation and start up)
- - Grand Manan air ambulance service motivation based on cost, higher priority constituents and impersonal mandate. (Hiring quality staff or relocation of business is challenging due to health care risk to owner, employees and their family members)
There are many more examples of different levels of governments that support the motivation of depopulation of rural Charlotte County for the betterment of the whole (urban centres).
The big difference between the policy of Joey Smallwood and NB governments is that Joey eliminated the out port communities in one sweep while we in Charlotte County are being removed by a thousand cuts which each hurting but not killing but a some point no one may be around to be cut again.
Historically Charlotte County has been economically devastated by Federal and Provincial governments’ policies and actions. Charlotte County and all the NB counties along the US border previous to 1867 were the most economical prosperous in North America due to their seamless trade south into the US. With confederation these same counties no longer were economic leaders and their natural resources were use to benefit Upper Canada. To add more hardship to the region at the beginning of the great depression when jobs were scares in the urban centers in Canada and the US both countries put in place significant protectionist policies to prevent jobs going to foreigners. The was the nail in the coffin for both Charlotte County NB and Washington County Maine as many skilled workers employed by business on each side of the border lost their jobs due to these policies and eventual moved away and the Counties turned into a “have not” wards of the state. Sadly this attitude and contentment with it prevails inside of Charlotte County as well as outside.
As in Newfoundland out ports, rural New Brunswick and Charlotte County residents are an independent lot and will survive and prosper. Depopulation of rural NB will not deter them from overcoming the challenges required for social and economic prosperity it just requires more work and the realization that support resources available in urban centres will not be made available in rural NB. This independence and rural character of the residents will be an advantage for businesses to relocate and start up.
We can recreate pre-confederation prosperity and this is the objective of this Charlotte County and Grand Manan NB 2020 Initiative.
The next post will focus on turning these weaknesses and threats into strengths, nullifying the risk and moving forward. Government is not responsible for creating jobs, business and entrepreneurs are. Government policies that inhibit economic and social growth anywhere within the province must be reassessed and customized to each region’s environment. The new Regional Service Commissions if set up and managed correctly may be a move forward in customizing support for social and economic growth but currently this is not within their mandate.
In summary this post was in 2014 and the policies of government to day are more so focus on rural genocide for whose benefit, not the majority of New Brunswickers that reside in rural NB or depend on the resources of rural NB to survive. Perhaps someone should tell politicians where milk comes from. I have not seen a dairy farm in downtown Fredericton.
Effective and Efficient Provision of Government Services in French or English to the Citizens of New Brunswick
Effective and Efficient Provision of Government Services in French or English to the Citizens of New Brunswick
In this upcoming elections there is obvious discontent with how the current government has interpreted and set policies under the Official Language Act adopted by the government. The Liberal party motive exceeds the intent of the Act and the PC and Alliance party have come out with their solutions which mean little under the current Act. The current Act needs to be refined as intended to pertain to unique regional needs of the citizens not a geographic area.
The purpose of the Official Language Act was to ensure government services are received and understood by the citizens of New Brunswick be it in English or French. The purpose of the official Language Act was not to create a bilingual province. It is about people not institutions or governments.
So how do we ensure provincial services are delivered under the Act effectively and efficiently. First it can not happen. The Act itself administered today is a money hog providing little value to the majority of the citizens either French speaking or English. it is broken but deemed to politically volatile to be addressed. The province of New Brunswick adopted the federal Act with minimal changes. The federal act without major modification does not positively contribute to a prosperous province but customizing the Act to satisfy all the stakeholders in NB can create a unique place to live without penalizing any of it's citizens. Let us take a look at an overview of the Act.
The first Official Languages Act, enacted in 1969, recognized the equal status of English and French throughout the federal administration. Its primary goal was to ensure that Canadian citizens had access to federal services in the official language of their choice. As a federal act, the Official Languages Act is only applicable to federal institutions and cannot be applied to provincial or municipal governments or to private businesses. The Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations.
How is it determined that an office is required to provide services in both official languages?
To determine whether there is significant demand for service in the minority official language, the size of the linguistic minority population in the region is taken into account, as well as the proportion of that population to the total population of that region. An office may also be required to provide services in both official languages if its mandate is related to public health or safety, or if it is deemed reasonable for it to do so because of its location or its national or international mandate. The minority population threshold is set at 5% of the area being served.
The consequences for New Brunswick continuing to operate under the existing interpretation of the Official Language Act. is bankruptcy. A place of no return. Federal government take over of the province. We will have less status of the Northwest Territories. Receivers for the provinces creditors will be put in charge of running the province and collecting debt. At that stage the province's acts and policies will be nullified due to creditor priority. At that stage it will become obvious that the Official Language Act is the one of the primary vessels to bankruptcy and everyone looses especially the citizens of new Brunswick.
There is a solution to void these consequences that are caused by the Official Language Act. The solution is to allow New Brunswick citizen to make modification to the Act that are more relevant to the New Brunswick landscape. The four areas that can be changed are;
1. The definition of regions specific to NB. A region is defined as a geographic area.
2. The services that are deemed essential for the health and safety of the citizens of New Brunswick
3. The percentage of the populations that would indicate both language services are required for that region and service.
4. A New Brunswick definition of "language of their choice" by service.
The above must be addressed on two fronts services to the public and the public services internal operations. Two distinctly different understanding of the Official language Act. Both determined by the people not the public service.
In my assessment no solutions can be presented until the above is addressed. The secondary or primary factor that must be considered when dealing with changes is the cost of providing services to the public. We need to obtain a cost of service per 1000 citizens at a manageable level. As it is said you cannot provide champaign on a beer budget. I suggest a process similar to a zero based budget exercise be employed to determine the extent of the answers to the four areas identified above.
I know that this suggested approach will not be considered by either powerful linguistic lobby group or the civil service unions. It appears they forget that to 90% of the total New Brunswick population that language of serve is not on their top 10 priorities of their life or what they want from government.
In my next post I may take a stab at addressing the four areas outlined. My concern is that change will only happen in this area by force caused by a provincial bankruptcy. This will be caused not by the will of the people but lack of will power by the elected representatives of the people.
A Path to Prosperity
What does a Prosperous New Brunswick look like?
In my previous posts I focused on the primary governance tools for effective management of corporations. There are two critical processes in successfully running an organization that are also applicable to governments these are Strategic Planning and Performance Management Systems. I suggested that the province of New Brunswick first focus on Strategic Planning.
Strategic Planning at the Premiers office level and initially for the total overall governance level is the first step. When looking at the sequence of steps in undertaking this exercise. The Vision Statement starts the process.
I have reviewed government documents, press releases and economic development plan reports and have seen many references to OUR VISION but cannot find one overall vision for New Brunswick that has been citizens driven. A vision is long term and does not change but possibly tweaked.
A vision is created by the people for the people. For New Brunswick it reflects that thing we always talked about but never documented "What does a prosperous New Brunswick look like? How do we know if we have achieved it? In corporate terms "Why do government exist and what do we want them to accomplish and how do we know if they are on track" It must be measured with values that are relevant, have integrity, monitored and used as the principal benchmarks for all governments in setting goals and strategies.
The interesting thing about a measurable vision it is long term, Elections are not designed to give political parties the authority to change visions. This is a separate bipartisan task to be held every 6 years within a commission reflecting the voice of New Brunswickers. An election is to change personal with assumed better plans to accomplish the citizen’s developed vision of the province.
Would you or any other investor invest in any organization that does not have a vision for WHAT prosperous looks like and HOW and WHEN it will accomplished. I am sure no one would invest so why should the tax payers of New Brunswick invest their money in the province that does not have a vision and a path to prosperity.
If we have a New Brunswick Vision for prosperity please send me a copy. If not then let us develop one and a path to obtain the vision of a Prosperous New Brunswick