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.
Pandemic Education Disruption
Schoolhouse Director Paul Bennett was one of the first to identify pandemic “learning loss” as a significant impact affecting students during COVID-19 school closures from 2020 to 2021 and in the wake of the disruption. He was one invited by CBC-TV’s The National in May 2022 to assess provincial pandemic recovery strategies and his analysis was featured in the initial June 6, 2022 “Learning Curve” national telecast. Since then, Dr. Bennett has provided expert analysis on that topic in a succession of news articles, commentaries, television clips and radio interviews.
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 Remote 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. He’s also examined the legacy of the great remote learning experiment.
School Closures and Community Hub Schools
Public policy reform advocacy is best exemplified in Dr. Paul Bennett’s 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 with the Nova Scotia Small Schools Initiative. In January 2022, Paul delivered the Keynote Address at the Ontario Rural Education Symposium sponsored by the SDG United Counties, based in Cornwall, Ontario.
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. His latest research study (ARCS June 2022) compared school storm day losses in Nova Scotia with Massachusetts.
Inclusion and and Reclaiming High Risk Students
Three research reports 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. A June 2013 study 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. Those commentaries and presentations shaped much of the public policy discourse.
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). The initial study evolved into an academic paper presented at the CSSE 2021 National Conference (June 3, 2021) and an April 2022 Canadian Sociology Association presentation in the Education and Law series, 2021-22.
"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
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.
- Eliminating French Immersion– Why did the Delphi Technique Consultations fail the test in New Brunswick?by Paul W. Bennett on January 27, 2023
The proposed plan to change French-language education by eliminating French Immersion in New Brunswick’s Anglophone schools is facing a firestorm of resistance. An initial mid-January 2023 live-streamed media conference announcing ‘public consultations’ was cut-short after 29 minutes. Then tempers and emotions flared up at the first meeting of the four scheduled ‘public consultations’ which hardened
First Place among Top 30 Education Blogs in Canada 2018 & 2022.