section includes articles published from 2012 to the present.
Issues are listed in descending chronological order.
2014 (Issue 151–155)
2013 (Issues 140–150)
2012 (Issues 128–139)
Issue One Hundred Fifty-Five
April 10, 2014
Culturally Responsive Teaching in Yukon First Nation Settings:
What Does It Look Like and What Is Its Influence?
Brian Lewthwaite, James Cook University, Thomas Owen, Auckland University of Technology, Ashley Doiron, Tr’onde¨k Hwe¨ch’in First Nation, Robert Renaud, University of Manitoba,
and Barbara McMillan, University of Manitoba
This study presents a pedagogical framework to inform culturally responsive teaching in a Yukon First Nations community. The paper describes the community-based processes used to develop the framework, and presents accounts from teachers who have used the framework to inform their teaching. Preliminary indications of the adjusted teaching practices’ influence on student learning are presented, using qualitative data describing the changed teaching practices, and quantitative data specific to the changed practices’ impact on student learning. Finally, the paper outlines the ongoing community-based research work in the Yukon context, with reference to the work’s potential significance to the wider education community.
Issue One Hundred Fifty-Four
March 24, 2014
The Erosion of University Autonomy in Manitoba
Dan Smith, University College of the North
Examining legislative change between 1997 and 2013, and analyzing the governance of Manitoba’s post-secondary system using military concepts of strategy, operations, and tactics, this article argues that there has been a trend since 2006 of a general loss of university autonomy in the province. The article finds that changes in public policy in Manitoba’s post-secondary system, and how that policy is implemented, have led to a progressive movement towards greater government intrusion in what heretofore have been internal matters at the province’s universities.
Issue One Hundred Fifty-Three
March 6, 2014
Métis Student Self-Identification in Ontario’s K–12 Schools: Education Policy and Parents, Families, and Communities
Jonathan Anuik, University of Alberta,
and Laura-Lee Bellehumeur-Kearns, St. Francis Xavier University
The mandate for school boards to develop self-identification policies for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students is part of the 2007 Ministry of Education’s Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework. In this paper, we share findings from a larger study on the Framework that examines Métis student self-identification processes and assesses barriers, challenges, opportunities, and best practices. We draw on themes from a literature review concerning Métis education and we examine data from an online survey and key interviews with school administrators responsible for initiatives to support Métis students’ self-identification. The survey and interviews took place in the winter of 2011. We find that, for the self-identification policy to be effective, teachers, administrators, and support staff (clerks, receptionists, secretaries, and teaching/educational assistants) must build a school climate that welcomes Métis learners and parents, families, and communities and affirms their historical and contemporary values in practice. This way, students and their families may feel comfortable to identify as Métis.
Issue One Hundred Fifty-Two
February 13, 2014
Administrators’ Views on Teacher Evaluation: Examining Ontario’s Teacher Performance Appraisal
Sachin Maharaj, OISE, University of Toronto
This study examines the views of administrators (i.e., principals and vice-principals) in Ontario, Canada, with regard to the province’s Teacher Performance Appraisal process. A total of 178 responses were collected from a survey that examined five areas: 1) preparation and training; 2) classroom observations; 3) preparing the formal evaluation; 4) the impact on teaching practice; and 5) improving the process. Results indicate that administrators did not receive extensive training and, of the training they did receive, most did not find it very useful. Most administrators did not feel strongly that the classroom observations adequately assessed teacher practice and most did not feel that there had been substantial improvement in teacher practice in their schools as a result of the process. The most common suggestions for improvement were to have more classroom observations, some of which are unannounced; to evaluate teachers more frequently; and to have more than two rating categories.
Issue One Hundred Fifty-One
January 21, 2014
More Drama in School Leadership: Developing Creative and Ethical Capacities in the Next Generation of School Leaders
Jerome Cranston, University of Manitoba,
and Kristin Kusanovich, Santa Clara University
This paper shares the outcomes derived from research conducted with the participants of an interdisciplinary workshop entitled “The Drama in School Leadership” that employs applied drama processes and analysis in order to understand educational ethics. Participants explore high-stakes scenarios in school leadership by taking on roles in scripted cases with an ensemble. Findings from previous research on a similar workshop had shown that these methods help develop a felt or embodied understanding of ethical decision making. The findings generated from data generated from this second, different group of participants indicated new insights about leadership style and some increased facility with actual application of ethical frameworks to cases as a result of these methods. Participants also acknowledged the parallels between creative risk-taking in applied drama and real school leadership. Finally, participants articulated that while there is indeed ambiguity associated with ethical decision making, this approach allowed them to better understand the complex, even paradoxical dynamics between stakeholders in schools.
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Issue One Hundred Fifty
December 19, 2013
Perceptions of Graduate Supervision: Relationships with Time of Reflection and Post-Secondary Climate
Elizabeth Graham and Shannon A. Gadbois, Brandon University
This paper discusses the similarities and differences between Canadian doctoral students and new faculty members regarding their experiences with and perceptions of their graduate supervisors and mentoring. Participants’ responses were considered in light of the current post-secondary culture that emphasizes increased productivity and accountability of faculty members and the student as customer (e.g., Turk, 2000). An examination of survey and interview responses from participants showed that whereas both groups valued supervision that includes both career and psychosocial functions of mentoring (Kram, 1983), doctoral students tended to place more emphasis on the psychosocial functions than did the new faculty. In addition, although, in general, both groups gave more favourable ratings of their supervisors for career as opposed to psychosocial functions, new faculty members were more satisfied with their supervisors and rated their supervisors higher on most mentoring functions. These differences between groups were considered in light of universities’ adoption of a managerial, audit culture (e.g., Cribb & Gewirtz, 2006) that encourages students to perceive themselves as consumers and requires faculty to meet competing demands on their skills and time.
Issue One Hundred Forty-Nine
November 27, 2013
Students as Policy Actors: The TDSB Equity Foundation Statement and Commitments to Equity Policy
Tania Ferfolja, University of Western Sydney
Discrimination on the basis of homophobia/transphobia in many schools is an internationally recognised problem. The Toronto District School Board’s (TDSB) Equity Foundation Statement and Commitments to Equity Policy (EFS) provides an explicit mandate to schools in its jurisdiction to address such discrimination and educate about sexual and gendered diversity. This research, which draws on the work of Ball et al. (2012), examines how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) equity work was being implemented in two TDSB high schools. In particular, it illustrates how some students were more than subjectively produced by policy, but were agentic policy actors who were integral to the enactments of LGBTQ equity work undertaken in the schools.
Issue One Hundred Forty-Eight
November 15, 2013
Graduate Programs in Education: Impact on Teachers’ Careers
Janice Tucker, California Lutheran University, and Marian Fushell
This paper examined teachers’ decisions to pursue graduate programs and their career choices following completion of their studies. Based on document analysis and statistical examination of teacher questionnaire responses, this study determined that teachers choose graduate studies for different reasons, their program choice influences future career options, the impact varies across programs, and barriers preventing teachers from advancing to leadership positions exist. These findings also show that females are underrepresented in the most senior leadership positions and there are significant gender differences in career goals and program selection. Policy makers need to address issues like the work-life balance, increased workload, gender imbalance, and increased opportunities for aspiring leaders.
Issue One Hundred Forty-Seven
October 28, 2013
Principal Leadership: Blending the Historical Perspective With the Current Focus on Competencies in the Alberta Context
Carmen Mombourquette, University of Lethbridge
This study was designed to explore the impact of the standards movement on the principalship in the province of Alberta, Canada. In 2009 the minister of education approved a set of practice guidelines for school leaders. The Guidelines list seven practice standards called leadership competencies. In 2012 a review was conducted to see how these leadership competencies were being articulated in the policies and procedures of the province’s English speaking publicly funded school jurisdictions. Fourteen of the 46 jurisdictions reviewed had policies or procedures that were consistent with the Guidelines mandate. This lack of acceptance of the Guideline as formal policy presents itself as a worrisome finding and indicates a lack of penetration from the provincial to the school jurisdiction level.
Issue One Hundred Forty-Six
October 19, 2013
Making Schools Safe and Inclusive: Gay-Straight Alliances and School Climate in Ontario
Julian Kitchen, Brock University, and Christine Bellini, OISE, University of Toronto
Gay-straight alliances (GSAs) have become widespread in Ontario schools and, starting in 2012, all schools are required to permit students to form GSAs. While American research suggests that GSAs have a positive impact on school safety and inclusion, there is little research on the impact of GSAs in Canadian schools. This study, based on a survey of 41 educators working with GSAs, suggests that policy changes in Ontario have had a positive impact on school climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students and that GSAs contribute to the development of safer and more inclusive schools.
Issue One Hundred Forty-Five
September 18, 2013
The Impact of Centralization on Local School District Governance in Canada
Gerald Galway, Memorial University, Bruce Sheppard, Memorial University, John Wiens, University of Manitoba, and Jean Brown, Memorial University
Across Canada there have been numerous recent examples of incidents where the political and ideological interests of provincial governments have run counter to the mandates of school districts. In this pan-Canadian study, focus groups were conducted with school board trustees and school district superintendents to examine the relationships between districts and provincial governments. Preliminary data suggest that the significance of the school district apparatus in Canada has diminished as provincial governments have enacted an aggressive centralization agenda. We theorize that in a politicized environment, the values, reward systems, and accountabilities against which school board superintendents and trustees operate are likely to differ substantively from those of politicians and bureaucrats, thereby creating a policy environment that is antagonistic to local governance.
Issue One Hundred Forty-Four
August 26, 2013
Hiring and Supporting New Teachers Who Focus on
Nancy Maynes and Blaine E. Hatt, Nipissing University
Hiring the best teacher for a school is a high stakes venture, fraught with danger that the choice may not be productive in terms of optimizing student learning. Those charged with the task of hiring teachers may not share a common view of how to assess applicants to identify the right “fit” for the position. A Professional Shift Theory (pst) model was developed to conceptualize characteristics of teachers’ shift toward focusing on students’ learning. School administrators identify the evidence they look for in interviews to highlight pst characteristics in potential hires, and support these characteristics after hiring. This study was undertaken to help school administrators identify those characteristics that they determine to be most desirable in new teachers who are potential new hires for a board. The study found many related trends in the responses of participants, including their heavy reliance on the use of conceptual language among interviewees as evidence that these teacher applicants can deliver the named skill when they teach. It is evident in this study that administrators who hire new teachers would benefit from professional development that helps them understand ways to mentor, model, and coach new teachers, and need further professional development that would help them understand how these types of support differ.
Issue One Hundred Forty-Three
August 3, 2013
School Culture and Physical Activity: A Systematic Review
Greg Rickwood, Nipissing University
This review examines literature on aspects of school culture and students’ physical activity participation. The following questions were addressed: (1) what aspects of school culture have been examined in relation to physical activity, (2) what is the weight of evidence concerning the relationships between school culture factors and physical activity participation, and (3) what are the areas of need in this line of research. Edgar Schein’s organizational culture model offered the framework for analysis in which pertinent articles were categorized into one of three levels of school culture: (1) artifacts, (2) espoused values, and (3) underlying member assumptions. School artifacts associated with physical activity were used more frequently by students and staff when these spaces and equipment were maintained, relevant to the school context and when daily practices allowed access to these artifacts during leisure times. A secondary theme revealed the importance of school-based, adult and student role models; when both were plentiful in schools, students and staff were more active at school on a daily basis. Another key finding indicated that students in Physical Education (PE) classes that reinforced traditional, team games (i.e., basketball, volleyball) were less active than students in PE classes that incorporated culturally relevant, lifestyle, and small-sided games.
Issue One Hundred Forty-Two
July 8, 2013
Problems of Practice: Canadian Cases in Leadership and Policy
Guest Editors: Katina Pollock and James Ryan
Table of Contents in Brief:
1. Problems of Practice: Canadian Cases in Leadership and Policy
Katina Pollock, Western University, and James Ryan, OISE, University of Toronto
2. Navigating in Stormy Waters
Ann E. Lopez and Jacqueline Button, OISE, University of Toronto
3. A Case of Teacher Opposition to School District Assessment
and Evaluation Policy
Marian Fushell, Education Consultant
4. Beliefs and Responsibilities of Educational Stakeholders
Concerning Student Success and Effective Principal Leadership
Pierre Lapointe and Emmanuel Poirel, University of Montreal,
and André Brassard, University of Montreal/University of Sherbrooke
5. Organizing for Professional Learning Communities:
Embedding Professional Learning During the School Day
Kristen Ferguson, Nipissing University
6. TAR (Theatre as Representation) as a Provocative Teaching Tool
in School Administration: A Dramatized Inclusive Classroom Scenario
Matthew J. Meyer and David C. Young, St. Francis Xavier University
7. Unmasking Vandalism: A Case of Social Justice Leadership Complexities
Hartej Gill, University of British Columbia
8. The Case of the Runaway Meeting
Stephanie Tuters and James Ryan, OISE, University of Toronto
9. Social Justice in Schools: A Case of Conflicting Values
Katie Higginbottom, OISE, University of Toronto, and Chris Friesen, Principal
10. Developing Transformative Leaders to Support
Everyday Antiracism Practices
Patricia Briscoe, Brock University
11. The Novice Principal: Change and Challenges
Shawn Northfield, University of Nottingham
Issue One Hundred Forty-One
May 18, 2013
The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning Implementation in a High School
Jennifer Katz, University of Manitoba,
and Ron Sugden, Prairie Rose School Division
The role of the school leader (principal) in supporting educational reform is explored through a case study of one high school implementing the Three Block Model of UDL (Katz, 2012a) in an effort to meet the needs of a diverse student population. This case study is a part of a much larger study exploring outcomes for students and teachers of implementing the model with social and academic inclusion as a goal (Katz, 2013). In this article, analysis of the principal’s field notes, photographs, and video evidence is detailed to illuminate a process for supporting inclusive education through teachers’ professional development in universal design for learning. Results indicated the principal’s efforts to provide teachers with professional development, planning time for collaboration, vision, and direct involvement in instructional delivery resulted in positive outcomes for both students’ and teachers’ learning, self-efficacy, and sense of community.
Issue One Hundred Forty
March 12, 2013
Toward Instructional Leadership:
Principals’ Perceptions of Large-Scale Assessment in Schools
Michelle Prytula, Brian Noonan, and Laurie Hellsten,
University of Saskatchewan
This paper describes a study of the perceptions that Saskatchewan school principals have regarding large-scale assessment reform and their perceptions of how assessment reform has affected their roles as principals. The findings revealed that large-scale assessments, especially provincial assessments, have affected the principal in Saskatchewan more positively than negatively or not at all, and that large-scale assessments appeared, in some cases, to have catalyzed the principals to move toward practices of instructional leadership, including goal setting, improving instructional practices, and measuring changes in student learning. Implications are included.
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Issue One Hundred Thirty-Nine
November 24, 2012
Developing and Launching an Online hub to Facilitate
the Exchange of Research Knowledge in Education:
The Case of the OERE
Stephanie Tuters, Robyn Read, Shasta Carr Harris, Arif Anwar,
and Ben Levin, OISE, University of Toronto
This paper outlines the process by which the Ontario Education Research Exchange (OERE), part of the Knowledge Network of Applied Education Research, developed and launched an online hub of education research summaries to facilitate greater use of research by stakeholders in the field of education. The project is an effort in knowledge mobilization funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education to help increase the use of research to inform policy and practice in Ontario. The paper begins with an outline of the background and history of the project. Next, the three main components of the project are outlined—collecting/writing the summaries and creating the inventory, putting together the peer review process, and creating the online hub for storing and sharing the summaries and facilitating the peer review process. This paper provides useful information that can be translated to similar projects with the goals of summarizing, storing, and/or sharing research with a broad audience.
Issue One Hundred Thirty-Eight
October 29, 2012
Considerations for Education Reform in British Columbia
Ana Santos, University of Victoria
Countries around the world refer to twenty-first century education as essential to maintaining personal and national economic advantage and draw on this discourse to advocate for and embark on educational reform. This paper examines issues around education reform, particularly in British Columbia. It argues that reformers should give careful consideration to the latest research on successful reform drivers as articulated by Michael Fullan, examples of best practices as illustrated by the province of Ontario, and heed the U.S. attempt at reform as a cautionary tale. All these factors are crucial to implementing education reform in B.C., especially in the current challenging and contentious political climate.
Issue One Hundred Thirty-Seven
October 4, 2012
School Attachment Theory and Restitution Processes:
Promoting Positive Behaviors in Middle Years Schools
Christine Penner, Interlake School Division,
and Dawn Wallin, University of Manitoba
This paper presents the findings of a case study that examined school attachment and restitution strategies used in a middle years school to determine if the program had provided a viable means of promoting and sustaining positive behaviors among middle years students. Data were gathered by interviewing five teachers who had Restitution I training and five students who had multiple discipline referrals to the office, and by examining school-wide discipline referral documentation. Students and teachers agreed that positive student–teacher relationships and developing a warm, safe, caring classroom and school environment were instrumental in creating the conditions for students to redress their actions and in attaching students to their school community. Involvement in extra-curricular activities, meeting friends, feeder school visits, the availability of food, and having fun were other factors cited as increasing students’ connection and sense of belonging. Collaboration with colleagues, support from administration, speaking the same restitution language, goal setting, parental support, and having a compassionate approach were seen as factors supporting the implementation of restitution, whereas lack of time, not having all staff embrace the philosophies and practices of restitution, teachers who were unwilling to share negative experiences, and students who were hardened from a multitude of poor life experiences and bad choices were seen as hindrances to the restitution process.
Issue One Hundred Thirty-Six
September 20, 2012
Twenty Years and Counting: An Examination of
the Development of Equity and Inclusive Education Policy
in Ontario (1990–2010)
Allison Segeren, University of Western Ontario,
and Benjamin Kutsyuruba, Queen’s University
In response to the oft-cited inadequacies of the policies and pedagogies of multicultural education, the Ontario Ministry of Education mandated that school boards develop equity and inclusive education policies, as specified in Policy/Program Memorandum No. 119 [2009 version]: “Developing and Implementing Equity and Inclusive Education Policies in Ontario Schools.” Relying on document analysis and policy analysis as methods of data collection, this study examined the ideological, socio-cultural, political, legal, and economic context from which PPM No. 119  developed in order to understand what groups of stakeholders were included in the policy development and whose values the policy document ultimately represents. Collected documents that represent both the federal and provincial level of policy making and a variety of regional stakeholders and policy actors illustrated that, despite a shift to focus on equity, conceptions of liberal multiculturalism continue to influence education policy in Ontario. This study concluded that the process of equity education policy development must be made a more inclusive process, reflecting the identities, values, and experiences of school administrators, teachers, and students.
Issue One Hundred Thirty-Five
August 27, 2012
Exploring School Principals’ Hiring Decisions:
Fitting In and Getting Hired
Jerome Cranston, University of Manitoba
Hiring preferences can often determine the amount and kind of consideration shown to candidates for teaching positions, and therefore can have a profound impact on school culture, but have been largely unexplored. This paper describes how one group of principals in Manitoba approach hiring decisions when assessing prospective teachers for “fit” both for the profession and for their schools. Based on a conceptual framework that examined the criteria used in hiring decisions along four sub-categories of person-environment (P-E) fit (Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005), the findings illustrate the critical role that principals can play in assessing applicants along various dimensions of fit even though they may have little formal preparation that would increase the reliability of such assessments. Additionally, these highly interpretive assessments constitute a significant part in decisions of who to hire, even though little is known about the relationship between assessments of fit and teacher effectiveness in the classroom. Finally, suggestions are offered that might improve the likelihood that those responsible for hiring teachers are aware of some of the biases that influence various decision-making phases of the hiring process.
Issue One Hundred Thirty-Four
July 13, 2012
Transforming Schools into Learning Organizations: Supports and Barriers to Educational Reform
Raymond B. Williams, St. Thomas University, Ken Brien, University of New Brunswick, and Janelle LeBlanc, St. Thomas University
The outdated manner in which we operate schools is tied to a reality that no longer exists. The society for which we prepare our students has shifted from a factory to a learning organization model. If we hope to prepare our graduates for successful participation in learning organizations we must transform both the structure and culture of our schools. This article summarizes data from 50 New Brunswick schools that are attempting to implement a professional learning community approach. In it we analyze both the strengths and barriers that impact this effort. The findings focus on the culture, leadership, teaching, and the professional growth in these schools. While identifying essential changes they contain promise that the task is achievable.
Issue One Hundred Thirty-Three
May 18, 2012
Change Forces: Implementing Change in a Secondary School for the Common Good
Wayne Melville and Anthony Bartley, Lakehead University,
and Molly Weinburgh, Texas Christian University
In this article, we investigate the change forces that act on administrators, subject department chairpersons and teachers as they seek to implement a change in a Canadian secondary school. Using a case study methodology, our analysis of the data uses Sergiovanni’s (1998) six change forces: bureaucratic, personal, market, professional, cultural, and democratic forces. Our interpretation supports the importance of the principal and administrators, working together with teachers, in implementing change. The analysis points to the chairperson of subject departments having a crucial, but often overlooked, role in the implementation of change. Three key co-requisites that allow chairpersons to play this critical role are: the existence of a school-level democratic commitment to the common good that guides the work of professional learning; the location of professional learning within departments to operationalise the common good; and, the capacity of the chairperson to fulfil their role as an instructional leader in the fullest sense of the term.
Issue One Hundred Thirty-Two
April 11, 2012
A Critical Analysis of Self-Governance Agreements Addressing First-Nations Control of Education in Canada
Gerald Fallon, University of British Columbia,
and Jerald Paquette, University of Western Ontario
This paper reviews the meaning and content of various First-Nation self-government discourses that have emerged over the last 40 years. Based on a detailed thematic analysis of policy papers, reports, and self-governance agreements on this issue of First-Nations control of education, this paper presents a coherent and defensible understanding of the current state of First-Nations rights to control education while mapping institutional arrangements or internal principles of organization for self-determination that have emerged over time in discourse on First-Nations rights and education in Canada.
Issue One Hundred Thirty-One
March 26, 2012
“Fear of Stigmatisation”: Black Canadian Youths’ Reactions to the Implementation of a Black-Focused School in Toronto
Megan K. Gordon and Dawn M. Zinga, Brock University
The black-focused school introduced by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) in 2009 has been controversial since the community consultations were conducted. Although media representations and Dei (1996, 2006) provide insight into what Torontonians’ reactions are to the proposed black-focused school, the reactions of black youth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have not been documented. We address that gap by providing a representation of black youths’ voices obtained via focus groups. Black youth from the GTA voiced their agreement with elements of the proposal, but resisted the idea of implementing the proposal by creating a separate school. These findings pose important implications for those in education fields, the TDSB and the black-focused school proponents.
Issue One Hundred Thirty
March 5, 2012
Lessons in Leadership: Perspectives on Corporate
and Educational Reform
Gerald Galway, Memorial University
Between 1970 and 1990 enrolment in Newfoundland and Labrador schools dropped by 22 percent. The first wave of major educational reform (1990 to 2000) saw massive reductions in public school expenditures and the reduction of more than 1650 teachers. Facing continued enrolment loss and a large current account deficit, in 2004, government again consolidated school districts. In this paper I examine the 1997 and 2004 reforms and argue that the “rationalization” agenda set by government was aggressive—driven primarily by fiscal and corporate factors. While the reforms accomplished their corporate goals, they also resulted in educational and organizational costs which should be weighed against potential benefits.
Issue One Hundred Twenty-Nine
February 13, 2012
Social Justice: The Missing Link in School Administrators’ Perspectives on Teacher Induction
Laura Elizabeth Pinto, Niagara University, John P. Portelli, OISE, University of Toronto, Cindy Rottmann, University of Manitoba, Karen Pashby, OISE, University of Toronto, Sarah Elizabeth Barrett, York University, and Donatille Mujuwamariya, University of Ottawa
Critical scholars view schooling as one piece of a larger struggle for democracy and social justice. We investigated 41 school administrators’ perceptions about the role and importance of equity, diversity and social justice in new teacher induction in the province of Ontario. Interviews reveal that principals were interested in shaping teacher induction programming in their schools and school districts, but that they regularly prioritized technical issues like classroom management and pedagogy over systemic issues like equity and social justice. When asked directly about equity, principals spoke about learning styles, special needs and differentiated instruction, but they regularly ignored new teachers’ abilities to counter systemic oppression—racism, sexism, and classism. Our findings suggest that without an explicit focus on equity and social justice in provincial policy documents, teacher induction programming runs the risk of reproducing a transmission model of new teacher education.
Issue One Hundred Twenty-Eight
January 16, 2012
Education Governance Reform in Ontario:
Neoliberalism in Context
Peggy Sattler, University of Western Ontario
This paper explores the relationship between neoliberal ideology and the discourse and practice of education governance reform in Ontario over the last two decades. It focuses on changes in education governance introduced by successive Ontario governments: the NDP government from 1990 to 1995, the Progressive Conservative government from 1995 to 2003, and the Liberal government from 2003 until the present. The analytical approach deploys the three models of education governance identified by Bedard and Lawton (2000) – policy interdependence, administrative agency and policy tutelage – to describe differences in the policy content of the neoliberal governance reform projects undertaken by each government. The paper uses the work and recommendations of three government-appointed bodies – the Royal Commission on Learning (RCOL), the Education Improvement Commission (EIC) and the Governance Review Committee (GRC) – to capture critical shifts and tensions in governance reform strategies. Three interrelated points are offered to further the understanding of education governance dynamics in neoliberal paradigms in Ontario: first, the influence of political ideologies on approaches to governance and accountability; second, the mediating role played by government-appointed bodies; and third, the incrementalism of neoliberal reforms in education governance policy.