The K-12 commission’s report is still under wraps, but a new Manitoba Education job posting — which requires essential skills, including knowledge of the “development and dissolution” of legislation, policies and programs — hints at what’s in it.
The province is hiring an executive director for the education department’s governance, policy and fiscal sustainability branch, which oversees everything from policies to independent schools.
According to a posting on LinkedIn, the province is seeking someone who can “lead teams in designing policy solutions to address immediate needs, as well as future-oriented system transformation.”
Essential qualifications include: management experience with a degree in law, political studies, economics or a related field; communication, budgeting and financial management skills; the ability to use influence and networks to anticipate the impact of decisions; experience giving advice to senior officials on “highly confidential” issues; and a background in the design, implementation and dissolution of policies.
The salary range is between $98,670 and $117,866 annually. Applications close Sept. 27.
Ever since the education review was announced in January 2019, school division staff have been whispering about the future of Manitoba’s 37 public school boards.
Cameron Hauseman, who researches K-12 school leadership at the University of Manitoba, considers amalgamation to be “an unspoken secret.”
A trail of hints in pre-pandemic days range from the province’s 2020 directive to divisions to slash overall management positions by 15 per cent, to a hiring freeze on senior board positions, to its request of the Winnipeg School Division to forgo a byelection to fill two empty trustee positions.
“The dissolution piece was kind of expected, so the part of the job posting that really sticks out is that knowledge of the K-12 school system is not viewed as an essential qualification,” said Hauseman, an assistant professor in the U of M’s faculty of education.
The job posting deems “knowledge of the K-12 education system” to be desired, not essential. Hauseman said the director will likely oversee fundamental changes to the school system, so it will be “extremely difficult” for them to be successful if they don’t have a comprehensive understanding of the challenges facing public schooling or a strong network of local educators.
He noted the posting indicates Manitoba Education is trying to get its ducks in a row before the findings of the review, led by education adviser Avis Glaze, are made public.
If Glaze’s resumé is any indication, the report’s recommendations will be transformational. Glaze recently authored a controversial report for the Nova Scotia government, in which she recommended boards be abolished and replaced by a government-appointed education authority.
“(The province has) created this crisis, real or not, about the quality and state of education in the province. So by doing so, they’re really going to have to demonstrate that they’re going to solve it in some meaningful way,” Hauseman said.
A provincial spokesperson said Friday the province has yet to set a date for the release of the report. Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen was not made available for comment Friday.
Alan Campbell, president of the Manitoba School Boards Association, has requested the province release the recommendations at the soonest appropriate time to relieve anxiety among educators.
Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press