Why community-supported education is right for Sackville

“The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”
— Sir Ken Robinson, expert on education & creativity

4 of many reasons to transform education in sackville now

  • Sackville’s school infrastructure is crumbling, and Marshview Middle is slated to close. Now is the time to invest in modern, 21st Century facilities that many other parts of Canada already enjoy.

  • The government is considering possibilities for the future direction of education in NB. Let’s be proactive & create a Sackville-based, innovative education system that we design as a community and helps our children thrive.

  • NB receives a D for education, among the lowest ratings in Canada (1); it’s time to do things differently!

  • We are a small, rural town with an integrated learning community that would benefit from a school system that is more collaborative & experiential, allowing teachers and schools greater access to the many wonderful resources in our town.

The Roots of public school education = where we are now

The current model of education includes features such as:

  • children grouped by age, compartmentalized into separate classrooms

  • students sitting at desks, often in rows, for much of their time learning

  • teachers instructing at the front of the class

  • written tests to assess whether prescribed outcomes are met

  • subjects taught separately from one another

This traditional model of public schooling is rooted in the mid 19th and early 20th century, starting during the Industrial Revolution. Before this time, most children learned through tutors and apprenticeships. The public school system was set up to create obedient workers that had the basic skills and conformity necessary to work in the economy of the time. The majority of students at that time were graduating and then working in factories doing industrial labour, with only the best and brightest trained for leadership positions, so education was monotonous with much rote learning (2).

While public school education has evolved somewhat over time, the standard model that many of us know continues to include many of same features of that original model.

modern education = where we want to be:

According to Cathy N. Davidson, co-director of the annual MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions, fully 65 percent of today’s grade-school kids may end up doing work that hasn’t been invented yet.
— New York Times, The Opinion Pages, 8/07/2011

Fast-forward to the 21st century: the political and economic situation is much different today. We live in a time when the world is changing faster than ever before. New developments in technology and ideas mean that jobs and occupations have evolved greatly over the last 10 years. Many jobs exist today that were unheard of when students graduated 15 years ago, and some that existed back then are no longer around.

This is a time for a new way of schooling that prepares students for modern times. Skills to develop include:

  • creativity: fostered through hands-on and experiential learning

  • curiosity: fostered through a learner-centred curriculum

  • collaboration: fostered through multi-aged groupings and commons areas

  • problem-solving: fostered through project-based learning

For more information about 21st century education guiding principles, visit the Learning page.

Sir Ken Robinson explains why it's time to change education

This video, Changing Education Paradigms, was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award.


(1) How Canada Performs - Conference Board of Canada

(2) The Prussian-Industrial Model - The Roots of Modern Schooling, The New American Academy

Header photograph courtesy of Thaddeus Holownia