Earlier this week, this news item scrolled across our electronic desk.
The Manitoba government is trying for a second time to reform education in the province, but this time without planning to eliminate elected school boards.
The Progressive Conservative government faced widespread public opposition last year when it announced plans to wipe out all elected English-language school boards, and eventually backed down.
“We heard loud and clear from Manitobans that they didn’t want us to change the governance structure,” Education Minister Wayne Ewasko said Wednesday as he released his new plan.
To continue reading, click https://globalnews.ca/news/8772733/manitoba-education-reform-strategy/
The relevant portions of the news article for our purposes were:
The government is also planning to expand remote learning to include an online high school, after seeing how remote learning worked during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brian O’Leary, superintendent of the Seven Oaks School Division in Winnipeg, said he foresees remote learning as a supplement rather than a replacement for in-class instruction.
“Remote learning resources will help students in smaller, more far-flung schools access some options that the local schools may be challenged to deliver,” he said.
These provisions in Manitoba’s K to 12 Education Action Plan is basically an acknowledgement of what already exists in the province. The “Distance Learning” portion of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Learning’s website already lists two province-wide virtual collegiates (i.e., the Manitoba Remote Learning Support Centre for grades K–8 and InformNet for grades 9–12). It also lists contacts for almost all 37 school divisions “for school administrators and guidance counselors who wish to contact other schools regarding web-based course options that may be available through sharing.” Essentially, any K-12 student in Manitoba has had the ability to take one or more courses at a distance for quite some time – and well before the pandemic.
The actual text of the K-12 Education Action Plan includes the following language:
- Develop a provincial remote learning strategy, including an online high school, to enhance access to programming and learning across the province (p. 15)
It is unsure at this time how this online high school would differ from the virtual collegiates that have already been piloted and later approved by the Government of Manitoba.