A Call for Change in the Public Education System in Nova Scotia


  • Barbara-Ann Hamilton-Hinch Dalhousie University
  • Jessie-Lee D. McIsaac Mount St. Vincent University
  • Mary-Jane Harkins Mount St. Vincent University
  • Sherry Jarvis Dalhousie University
  • John C. LeBlanc Dalhousie University




The United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent and Nova Scotia’s Ministry of African Nova Scotian Affairs recognize that students of African descent continue to experience inequities. As previous studies indicate, parents of Black learners identified that many educators lack knowledge and experience in understanding students of African descent.This study explored student achievement from the perspective of parents of children of African descent attending public schools in Nova Scotia. Participants included individual interviews and focus groups with parents from rural and urban areas. Based on Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory framework, a thematic analysis of the data was conducted, a dominant storyline related to the families’ experiences in school and subsequent themes emerged: we are treated differently; we don’t feel connected; we know there are challenges: the resistance of parents; and we deal with injustices but persevere. These findings provide recommendations to improve the educational success for Black learners.

Keywords: African Canadian, academic achievement and success, Black students, education, schooling challenges, students of African descent

Author Biography

Jessie-Lee D. McIsaac, Mount St. Vincent University

This research was undertaken, in part, thanks to funding from the Canada Research Chairs program.




How to Cite

Hamilton-Hinch, B.-A., McIsaac, J.-L. D., Harkins, M.-J. ., Jarvis, S., & LeBlanc, J. C. (2021). A Call for Change in the Public Education System in Nova Scotia. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue Canadienne De l’éducation, 44(1), CI64-CI92. https://doi.org/10.53967/cje-rce.v44i1.5025



Bilingual special capsule: African Canadian educational success