tion costs. Critics claim that those schools that self select their students will naturally perform better than the norm. Yet the rankings also reveal hidden gems in the public system, schools that perform much higher than expected. Explaining why some public schools perform better than others year to year means that parents begin to take note and line up to get their children enrolled. Peter Cowley, the director of school evalua tion for the Fraser Institute, recognizes that there are limitations to what the data can reveal. Yet he responds to critics by pointing out that the Teachers Federation and other organizations remain opposed to any kind of feedback mechanism to inform public choice. There is an open invitation to assist and improve upon such evaluations, but no participa tion from such interests39.
Public Private Partnerships. Another issue current in public edu cation is the role of P3s, or public private partnerships in funding capital projects – primarily the construction of schools. P3s are part of a policy in new public management that has worked its way even into the sacred cows of health and education. While federal and provincial governments throughout the country engage in such partnerships for land develop ment, the role of P3s in education is relatively new and untested.
Amendments to the School Act in BC by the new Liberal government in 2002 introduced a new institution to local school boards: the School District Business Company. Local school boards were given the oppor tunity by the provincial government to establish corporations to carry out commercial activity without exposing the local school district to any financial liability. In other words, local boards of a public education sys tem can also find ways to engage in for profit activity. Efforts to do so have focused primarily on selling educational programs overseas or specific services to other districts. While prospects for profits in China and other locations exist, the early rush to create such corporations has not led to any quick pay offs, and most school board corporations exist on paper only.
Yet the development of P3s for capital projects continues to gather steam. Nova Scotia, for example, embraced the policy with enthusiasm in the late 1990s, planning on the construction of 55 new schools through public private partnerships. The number was then cut to 33, projected to be built at a public cost of $350 mln. Contracts were given 39 th Author interview wit h Peter Cowley, Fraser Institute, January 18, 2007.
to private corporations to build the schools and then lease them back to government. Yet cost overruns, based on upgraded construction and design, extra frills in equipment, as well as escalated private property costs meant that cost overruns totaled more than $32 mln. The building of schools through public private partnerships was supposed to make fewer demands on the public purse, rather than more. Critics point out that not only were costs much higher than the traditional way of gov ernment contracted school construction, but the end result was that the private side of the equation now had ownership of the buildings and the property. In other words, the public cost for the schools was greater and property title was outside of public control40. Controversies sur rounding the P3 policy of the Liberal government in Nova Scotia helped contribute to their election defeat in 1999.
Despite this record, there are many advocates for further utilization of P3s in public policy, including public education. Aside from school construction, there are the corporate boards and entrepreneurialism encouraged on schools, and the consulting and marketing of skills.
Some of the objection against P3s is the inclusion of an entrepreneurial ethos in the public sector. Diehard supporters of public management are ideologically opposed to such changes, fearing – rightly or wrongly – that such trends not only undermine the status quo, but also push a neo liberal propaganda into the schools41. In this sense, opposi tion is based as much on consequence of competing ideologies as on specific results. Certainly such a focus on P3 endeavors does allow the government to slough off some of the fiscal responsibility for infrastruc ture development. One community may demand a new, larger school because of perceived rather than actual needs. A policy that encour ages P3s allows the government to fund real needs and then place the See Heather Jane Robertson, “Why P3 Schools are D4 Schools, or How Private Public Partnerships Lead to Disillusionament, Dirty Dealings and Debt,” http://bctf.ca/IssuesInEducation.aspxid=5960.
Here indirect impression of private activity efficiency comparing with state failures in the similar projects mentioned, I guess. The direct modern “liberal” propaganda, including compulsory multi culturalism and political correctness, compulsory “socialization” spreading and propogation is mentioned by leftist ideology supporters just like integral part of “promotion of democratic values in the schools” – K.Yanovskiy’s comment based on the interviews with Larry Kuehn (February 22, 2007) and Laurie Anderson (February 23, 2007).
onus on the local community to come up with additional funding through partnerships to cover additional costs. Such an approach means that the government does not have to say no to local wants.
3.5. The Chapters’ Conclusions We have examined here some of the main features of public educa tion in Canada, particularly those issues that address the question whether or not there are institutional barriers to reforming education services. Because public education is a provincial jurisdiction, there is no significant role for the federal government. nstead, there are dis parities in the ways in which provincial governments structure and fund local schools. The different provinces also provide a fertile laboratory for studies in federalism. Why, for example, have some provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia embraced many elements of school choice The constitutional framework for education is similar across provinces. Yet these two western provinces not only lead the county in terms of innovation, they also lead in terms of educational performance.
Such results suggest that any institutional barriers to innovation are overcome by political will. School choice, such as it exists in Canada, is the result of such will.
At the same time, the modest reforms and innovations in education policy also suggest that provincial governments are aware of the sacred trust of public goods. There has been no headstrong rush towards the latest policy proposal, neither has there been any shock therapy in edu cation. Indeed, incrementalism and cautious experimentation rather than revolution are the hallmarks of public policy in public education and government finance. This is an accurate reflection of Canadian po litical culture, and also a reflection of the relative success of education policies of the past. Continuing demographic pressures and fiscal con cerns will likely animate education policy in the future, just as they have in the past. But change is likely to be implemented gradually and one province at a time, allowing other jurisdictions to emulate successes rather than ideas. In this regard, provincial governments portray what might be considered Canada’s best political practice – the struggle for balance among conflicting ideas.
4. Education: Some Recommendations as an Alternative to Simple Pumping of Resources In Russia, certain forms have been emerging, and in big cities, es pecially in the capital, they are, in fact, already existing, that can provide at a private level appropriate solutions to certain problems in the sphere of education. Sometimes, due to very imperfect legislation and law enforcement practices, these forms have represented corruption or quasi corruption – extortion of money from students’ parents, cram ming, etc. In this connection it should be noted that in some schools parents’ committees actually perform the functions of trustees’ com mittees, executing independent control over the spending of money collected from parents, also independently, by those same committees.
The areas and programs of spending, approved by such agencies, ac tually determine the amount of money to be collected.
With the transition of the financing for the system of secondary edu cation to the system of vauchers, the experience of such schools will be of growing interest to parents, because it offers a tool for determining the best balance between the price and quality of education services.
On the other hand, the increasing share of private sources in the financing of secondary schools will make it possible to gradually oust the services of those teachers whose performance is of poor quality, and sometimes – quite unacceptable. One source recruiting the staff of schools, at least in the teaching of specific subjects, may become, in the next 5–10 years, retired scientists, whose academic degree and experience in scientific research may compensate for their lack of proper pedagogic experience, at least when teaching senior grades.
The participation of the State and municipalities in the administration of educational establishments must correspond to their share in financ ing and gradually become smaller.
The growing role of financing from private sources, coupled with the growth of the third (or not for profit) sector will also make it possible, with the highest degree of efficiency and justness (not in the sense of equalizing the rich and the poor, but in the sense of providing adequate chances to the children of the latter), to solve the problem of recruiting talented but poor students to the best secondary schools and higher educational establishments. Obviously, the well to do parents will soon understand, even without any special promotional campaign (which does not mean that such a campaign would be of no use altogether), the incomparably greater effect for their child of their investments into the free of charge education system, where that child will be studying in the same class as a talented child from a poor family, than the effect of the investments in furniture, equipment, food and uniform.
Of course, this would require the abolition, at the federal level, of all the latest innovations introduced in legislation on not for profit organi zations, and the establishment of the procedure of coordinating any checks of not for profit organizations with an authorized representative of a human rights agency (and federal and regional authorized repre sentatives at the federal and regional levels, respectively).
In order to boost the process of “parent maturing”, more and more restrictions may be imposed on the control executed by the State, be ginning with those schools that have achieved the most impressive re sults in terms of their former students’ enrollment in this country’s lead ing higher educational establishments.
4.1. State Standards of Education As early as during the present President’s first term of office, many deputies were already putting forth initiatives aimed at restricting the minute regulation of State standards in the sphere of education41. In a situation of state monopoly of financing established for the public edu cation system, an attempt to coordinate financing with the require ments of State standards seems to be a logical one. However, no less obvious is also the danger of potential mistakes to be made by govern ment officials, resulting from both lack of competence and, more im portantly, from lack of appropriate motivation in providing solutions to such complex problems.
In areas beyond Moscow and St. Petersburg, it would be presump tuous (and dangerously wrong, as seen by typical past experiences) to rely on the competence of officials.
See, e. g., draft law No. 117605 3 of the year 2001, submitted by Deputies of the State Duma A. V. Shishlov, I. I. Melnikov, O. N. Smolin, S. V. Ivanenko, S. S. Mitrokhin and oth ers, as well as by members of the Council of the Federation V. V. Sudarenkov and V. A.
The following general principle is suggested: that the education standard should be determined by the requirements set by the most successful representatives of a higher level of education and science.
Thus, the (minimum) standards of higher education should be deter mined by the usual requirements of higher educational establishments introduced for their entrance examinations in basic subjects – mathe matics, the Russian language and foreign languages, history, etc. (that is, a rather narrow range of disciplines; as for any regulation of subjects like biology, not to mention fine arts, it would be quite senseless and harmful). The recommended level must correspond to the require ments established at the best higher educational establishments. In mathematics, these would be the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technologies, the Department of Mechanics and Mathematics of Mos cow State University, etc.
The role of the system of higher education in determining such stan dard requirements, especially in mathematics and natural sciences, since higher education will, in fact, already in the medium term per spective, become a “basic” one (or a “main” one), appears to be deci sive. Besides, it is the higher education that is faced on a more regular basis and with tougher consequences with the responses of the labor market (or demand for specialists).
Accordingly, the standard of higher education is being determined, for one thing, by the requirements existing on the market for particular specialists and for degrees of Candidate of Sciences (or PhD). In this connection it is noteworthy that the requirements of the leading re search centers and universities in the USA and Western Europe must represent a no less important basis for establishing this standard than the requirements of those national centers endowed with the right to grant the degrees of Candidate of Sciences and Doctor of Sciences.
The ratios of relative significance may be easily determined by formal criteria (the number of publications in international scientific journals and the number of works published by international publishers, and ci tation index).
The State, on its part, must simply provide the “codification” of the actually developing standards, gradually raising the level of the “official” state standard in response to the additional demand on the market and the results of scientific search.
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