Canadian education awaits a hard lesson, watchdog warns

Kate HammerR, Globe, Mail, Oct 11, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The Canadian Council on Learning releases its final report (PDF) and reiterates its support for a single national vision for education in Canada. It warns that although Canada is doing well, it risks falling behind without such a vision. For my own part, I don't think they've made the case - the comparisons the report makes with other countries are comparisons of structures and programs - see, for example, the table on page 21, which lists indices such as "major review", "system-wide goals", "funding aligned with national priorities" and "national quality assurance". But of all the countries that have these things, Canada trails exactly none in the international rankings. So the question is begged, and repeatedly begged: why should Canada emulate the practices of countries with demonstrably poorer educational outcomes? If there are problems in the Canadian system, they are not caused by a lack of management, but rather, a lack of equity between wealthier regions, poorer regions, and most distressingly, First Nations communities. See also CCL Report and speaking tour.
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