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Giles, T.E. and A.J. Proudfoot.

3rd ed. Calgary, Detselig Enterprises, c1984. 286pp, cloth, $21.95, ISBN 0-920490-37-9. CIP

Reviewed by Robert Nicholas Bérard

Volume 13 Number 4
1985 July

This volume aims at providing a comprehensive introduction for the intending teacher to the educational system in Canada and its operations. The approach is largely descriptive, and the authors offer little in-depth analysis of the major issues in educational administration or the literature relating to those issues.

In the first of the book's five sections, Giles and Proudfoot provide a brief and superficial history of Canadian education to establish some of the reasons for the development of our relatively decentralized system. They attempt to put the case for greater federal control and coordination of education in Canada, while neglecting to consider seriously the objections to further federal encroachment on powers granted specifically by the Constitution to the provinces. Surprisingly, the most recent major work on this subject, Ivany and Manley-Casimir's Federal-Provincial Relations: Education Canada (Oise Press, 1981), is not included in the bibliography nor does it appear to have influenced the writing of the chapter.

The second section sketches the structure of the educational system in this country, offering brief descriptions and diagrammatic representations of the authority and responsibility of provincial ministries of education and local school boards, and an examination of the nature and place of private education in each province. In these chapters, however, and that on the financing of education, the authors have failed to update their work sufficiently. In 1981, the Walker Royal Commission on Educational Finance radically reduced the number of school boards in Nova Scotia and extensively revamped provincial funding formulae. This book contains no mention of the Commission's report nor do the authors seem aware of the changes that followed from it.

Chapters on educational law provide a useful introduction to a topic of burgeoning interest, but anyone employing this book as a text should consult A. Wayne MacKay's comprehensive and very well written Education Law in Canada (Emond-Montgomery, 1984), which treats the topic more subtly and in much greater depth. A fourth section on "Teacher Relationships" raises questions about community involvement in education, the legal and professional implications of various techniques of classroom management, and the variety and nature of services with which schools today are expected to provide young people.

The book's final section describes the structure of Canada's major teachers' associations, outlines a sample collective agreement, and reviews the perennial debate over the proper balance between professional and trade union activities to be assumed by teachers' organizations, although the references and bibliography for this critical issue are quite dated for an edition that claims to reflect the educational scene to 1983. The book closes with an odd series of appendices, ranging from a contemporary account of the Caraquet school riots of 1875 to a copy of the Alberta Bill of Rights.

In the absence of another comprehensive text, this volume could serve as a helpful starting point for the undergraduate study of educational administration. In general, however, too much of its copy is already out of date and misleading, its focus and examples are too heavily drawn from Alberta, and it attempts too much in too brief a space to produce satisfactory results.

Robert Nicholas Bérard, Dept, of Education, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S.
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