Thwaites: Too soon for school zoning policy
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has signalled that he will consider a formal zoning policy for schools if he sees any results from the initiative to this year place some students who sat Grade Six Achievement Test based on proximity.
Responding to questions from The Gleaner, Thwaites said it was too soon to consider a formal zoning policy.
"Not yet. I think we have to tread carefully and see how it works as we move towards that possibility," he said.
Thwaites indicated that the placement of several students based on proximity will be used as a gauge to test the waters in regards to the implementation of an official zoning policy.
"This year, upwards of 20 per cent of all students were placed on the basis of proximity. We blended that with a care for parents' choices and, interestingly, a number of parents whose children got one of their choices are now coming to us and saying, 'Please, could you place this child closer to where we live because we can't afford it?', or 'It's not convenient', so I am picking up an increased acceptance of the principle of zoning," Thwaites explained.
Thwaites disclosed he is hopeful about the widespread implementation of zoning.
"Are we going to carry it further? Personally, I would want us to, but what we need to do is see how well it is working, because we have taken a definite step this year and we need to test it and see how it works, and decide then whether to extend it," he said.