Schoolhouse Institute provides independent, relevant, and sound commentary and research on critical issues in education. We also offer professional advice and provide active resource support in planning public education events and conferences.
Policy Research with Impact
Sound ideas, independent thinking and better schools are the priorities for Schoolhouse Consulting and its research arm, Schoolhouse Institute. Our independent investigations, policy research, and recommendations exert an impact by tackling vital and emerging policy issues.
School System Reform
Our latest book, The State of the System: A Reality Check on Canada’s Schools (McGill-Queen’s University Press, September 2020), synthesizes much of the education history and policy research conducted by our Director, Paul W. Bennett, over the past decade. His news commentaries and the February 2018 report, Re-engineering Education, identified critical flaws in local democratic governance and may have influenced the ultimate Nova Scotia decision to eliminate elected boards.
Pandemic Online Learning
Our Lead Consultant’s research report on the state of Digital Online Learning in Canada (Springer Handbook on Digital Learning in K-12 Schools, 2017) is among the most widely read essays in the field. Our Lead Researcher was much in demand for media commentary and his findings were cited in many news reports from March to June 2020 during the initial phase of COVID-19 emergency home learning.
School Closures and Community Hub Schools
Public policy reform advocacy comes naturally to Dr. Paul W. Bennett and is best exemplified in his instrumental role in producing research and books in support of small schools and local communities. It’s all neatly summarized in the 2013 book, The Last Stand: Schools, Communities and the Future of Rural Nova Scotia, published in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Small Schools Initiative.
School Snow Days and E-Learning Options
Our news commentaries and research reports have documented the high incidence of storm day closures in Maritime Canada and sparked much public debate. Starting with the April 2010 report, Schools Out Again? and extending to the present, our Schoolhouse Director has been in the forefront of advocacy for preserving learning time, school calendar reform, and the introduction of e-learning days.
Inclusion and Class Composition
Three research reports on Inclusive Education and Special Needs students in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick conducted for the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (March 2012, June 2012 and May 2015) established Dr. Paul Bennett as one of the leading authorities on inclusion, class composition and multi-tiered systems of support. His commentaries and conference presentations have shaped much of the public policy discourse.
Rescuing and Reclaiming High Risk Students
Our June 2013 research report on Nova Scotia’s Schools Plus model of integrated services and its implementation raised concerns about its clarity of objectives, effectiveness and impact on the province’s most challenged and hard to reach children and teens. Changes subsequently made to the program expanded the mandate to providing enhanced school-based mental health services
Teaching Standards and Professional Conduct
Our March 2014 research report, “Maintaining Spotless Records”: Professional Standards, Teacher Misconduct and the Teaching Profession, sparked much public debate in Nova Scotia and was featured in the April 2016 CBC-TV Marketplace investigation into “Teacher Discipline.” It established our Schoolhouse Director as a leading authority on upholding professional standards from province-to-province across Canada.
Closing the Education Inequality Achievement Gap
Addressing educational inequalities has been a major focus for Schoolhouse Institute research and was best exemplified in the January 2019 AIMS report, Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap, comparing student results, school-by-school in the Halifax public school system. It was also featured in a four part “Postal Code Education” series in The Chronicle Herald (November 2018).
"Paul Bennett does something in education that is rare and spectacular: he tells the truth, and does so with a lifetime’s experience in the sector and a rational, informed perspective. This book is a wake-up call to anyone who cares about the wellbeing, safety and sound education of children in Canada. Put this man in charge of education, please.’’
– Tom Bennett, founder, researchED, London, UK
In the Media - Best Known Commentaries
CBC National – High schoolers, educators worry condensed schedules will bring ‘information overload’
Top Education Blog in Canada
Our Schoolhouse Institute Blog, EDUCHATTER, was ranked first in the February 2018 Top 30 Education Blog rankings in Canada. It's recognized for its identification of critical issues, research quality and informed commentary. It was also recognized as one of the Top Ten Blogs to Follow in 2020 in April 2020 by the Bay Education Group based in San Francisco, California.
- The Big Disconnect: Whatever Happened to Alberta, Canada’s Best School System?by Paul W. Bennett on November 23, 2020
Suspending Alberta diploma exams in October and November 2020 is understandable in the midst of a global pandemic, but it will have unintended consequences. Replacing exams with sound, reliable, standards-based and replicable alternative forms of summative assessment is a formidable challenge. Taking a longer-term view, it will most likely only exacerbate the gradual and well-documented
First Place among Top 30 Education Blogs in Canada 2018.