The State of the System: A reality check on the Canada’s schools in light of COVID
Date(s) - 30/09/2020
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic left our schools scrambling. The sudden need for distance education thrust our kids into an experiment with online learning that we weren’t ready for. Whatever the results of that experiment prove to be, we already know the experience exposed significant cracks in education: inflexibility, inequity, and over-centralized control. So, how do we make education more resilient for the future?
Join us on Wednesday, September 30th for a provocative and revealing analysis of K-12 education with Dr. Paul Bennett, Founding Director of Schoolhouse Consulting and Lead Researcher at Schoolhouse Institute in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Dr. Bennett will discuss his just-published book, The State of the System, which explores how education came to be so bureaucratic, analyzes the critical issues schools face, and addresses the need for systemic reform.
About the Book, The State of the System
A provocative and revealing analysis of K-12 education that will serve as catalyst for public policy debate and discussion. Exploring the nature of the Canadian education order in all its dimensions, The State of the System explains how government-run schools came to be so bureaucratic, confronts the critical issues facing kindergarten to grade 12 schools in all ten provinces, and addresses the need for systemic reform.
Going beyond a diagnosis of the stresses, strains, and ills present in the system, Paul Bennett proposes a bold plan to re-engineer schools on a more human scale as the first step in truly reforming education. In place of school consolidation and managerialism, one- size-fits-all uniformity, limited school choice, and the “success-for-all” curriculum, Bennett advocates for a new set of priorities: put students first, decentralize school governance, deprogram education ministries and school districts, listen to parents and teachers, and revitalize local education democracy.
Tackling the thorny issues besetting contemporary school systems in Canada, The State of the System issues a clarion call for more responsive, engaged, and accountable schools.
About Dr. Paul Bennett
Paul W. Bennett, Ed.D. (OISE/Toronto) is a leading Canadian education researcher, former Head of School, and the author of The State of the System: A Reality Check on Canada’s Schools (McGill-Queen’s University Press, September 2020). As Founding Director of Schoolhouse Consulting and Lead Researcher at Schoolhouse Institute in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Dr. Bennett is well versed on education policy, teaching, and governance practice. He has served as an elected public school trustee in Ontario, co-chaired the Ontario Coalition for Education Reform, and served on the Governance Committee of the Ontario Public School Boards Association. After serving as Chair of the History Department and Vice-Principal Academic at Upper Canada College, he went on to head two of Canada’s leading independent day schools, Lower Canada College (1997 to 2005) and the Halifax Grammar School (2005-2009).
Dr. Bennett served as an Adjunct Professor of Education at Saint Mary’s University from 2011 to 2016 and has produced more than a dozen major policy papers for research institutes. He has written or co-authored ten books, including The State of the System: A Reality Check on Canada’s Schools. Currently, Paul is Board Chair at Churchill Academy, a Dartmouth school for students with severe learning challenges and a regular education columnist for two regional daily newspapers, The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick and The Chronicle Herald in Nova Scotia.