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Home Policy Articles: Education

Although few people would challenge the idea that the state has a significant interest in a well-educated population, there is plenty of controversy over how that is best accomplished. Many of the controversies centre on the financing of the education system – how much money should be spent, how that money should be raised, and where it should be spent. Besides money, however, there are debates over the role of private education, class sizes, and religious instruction.

This section of is a window on the world of education policy in Canada.



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Aboriginal Peoples and Postsecondary Education in Canada popular

This diagnostic report uses empirical data to provide an accurate picture of how Aboriginal Canadians are faring in post-secondary education (PSE).

Report Card on Ontario's Elementary Schools: 2003 Edition popular

The Report Card on schools is an annual publication of the Fraser Institute. It collects a variety of indicators into one document, so that the performance of specific schools can be evaluated. This Report Card is produced largely to help parents make choices about what school is best for their children. The Fraser Institute also believes that ranking and comparing schools promotes improvements in lower-ranked schools, while recognizing the achievements schools ranked in the higher echelons.

Saskatchewan with an Aboriginal Majority: Education and Entrepreneurship popular

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the economic transformation of the Eastern European immigrants and their descendants and to ask whether it will happen again for Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan.

Signposts of Success: Interpreting Ontario's Elementary School Test Scores popular

This publication constitutes a book that is available in .pdf format. David Johnson examines province-wide standardized tests, introduced by the Ontario government in order to assess the progress of its primary school students in key subject areas. Johnson addresses the controversy surrounding standardized tests, and particularly that surrounding the relationship between socio-economic status and test results.

2003/04 Report Card on Atlantic Canadian High Schools

This report card is the second annual comparative analysis of the performance of schools throughout the Atlantic region. It is based on data provided by school boards, departments of education, and post-secondary institutions.

A Civil Argument About Dignity, Beliefs and Marriage

Ian T. Benson wrote this brief regarding the Civil Marriage Act (Bill C-38). Benson argues that the central problem with the marriage debate is that the fundamental starting points of both sides are irreconcilable.

A Family Affair: The Impact of Paying for College or University

This report examines the implications around the financing of post-secondary education, and the impact that they have on family life. The authors argue that many families are unprepared for the costs they will face in helping a child to pursue a university or college education. The authors point out that, today, more of the costs are now being borne by students themselves, while governments have reduced their direct post-secondary funding on a per-student basis.

A Merit Pay Plan for Manitoba's Teachers

Clifton and Holle begin their report by pointing out that Manitoba uses the same salary grid as the majority of school districts in North America. They explain that two axes appear on this grid: the teacher’s years of university education and years of experience.

A Path Out of Poverty: Helping BC Income Assistance Recipients Upgrade Their Education

According to Shauna Butterwick and Caroline White, welfare policy in British Columbia has been ineffective since 2002 and previous policies must be restored.

A Time for Vision: A Sustainable & Equitable Economy

The Alberta government’s 2005 budget will be the first since the provincial debt was eliminated. According to the Parkland Institute’s Committee on Alberta’s Finances, this budget should lay the foundations for a vision to build a socially sustainable and equitable economy. 2005...

A Time to Reap; Re-investing in Alberta's Public Services

This report advocates improving the many public service areas that were subject to budget cuts a decade ago in the interests of improving Alberta's debt. With extensive empirical evidence the study considers the advantageous position of Alberta's economy and financial situation as well as the social conditions that have been created by budget cutbacks. Finally this report points to a lack of accountability of government expenditures and makes recommendations to improve specific public services.

Aboriginal Learners in Selected Adult Learning Centres in Manitoba

Jim Silver examines Aboriginal adult learners in five Adult Learning Centres (ALCs) in Manitoba. The study is based largely on interviews with 74 Aboriginal adult learners and 20 staff members. According to Silver, the study’s objective was to determine what keeps Aboriginal adult learners attending ALCs, and what contributes to their successes.

Access to Post-secondary Education: Does Class Still Matter?

A majority of Canadians believe their children will attend a post-secondary educational institution upon finishing high school. Increasingly, Andrea Rounce suggests further education is seen as a pertinent part of a person’s life; this notion is supported by the statistic that, by 2004, 70 percent of new jobs created will require a college or university education.

Adding Rozanski: A Roadmap to Implementation

Hugh Mackenzie’s report is meant to accompany the Ontario Alternative Budget 2003. He examines the report of the Task Force on Education Equality, also known as the Rozanski Report.

Amalgamating School Boards Won't Increase Efficiency

This report analyzes the Manitoba government’s attempt to save costs on administration by reducing the total number of school divisions in the province from 54 to 37. In this report, the Frontier Centre uses the Manitoba FRAME report, which provides a yearly accounting of school division spending, to determine if larger school boards really are more efficient.

Are We There Yet? A Progress Report on Education Renewal in Ontario

Ontario’s education system has undergone years of cuts. In light of this, Hugh Mackenzie says the McGuinty government’s 2004 announcement of funding for elementary and secondary education was welcomed. Despite the benefits of increased funding, the author contends that assessing the government’s funding announcements is much more complicated.

Bamfield, BC: Wonderful Things Can Happen at the End of the Road

Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) created the Office of Learning Technologies (OLT) in 1996 to encourage innovative, technology-based learning.

Behind the Issues: Ontario 2003 - Funding for elementary and secondary education

Hugh Mackenzie addresses the issue of elementary and secondary education funding. A new funding formula for education was supposed to be introduced in 2003; however, as Mackenzie points out, there is no indication the government has solved the education-funding dilemma.

Behind the Issues: Ontario 2003 - Providing the quality university education our students deserve

The CCPA suggests there will be a huge surge in demand for university education over the next decade (due largely to the government’s decision to eliminate Grade 13), which creates a tremendous public policy challenge for the incoming government.

Bill C-38 and Public Education -- A Brief for the Legislative Committee

In this brief paper Peter Lauwers discusses the impact that a same sex marriage law would have on the curriculum of public schools.

Bulletin des écoles secondaires du Québec: Édition 2003

The Report Card on schools is an annual publication of the Fraser Institute. It collects a variety of indicators into one document, so that the performance of specific schools can be evaluated. This Report Card is produced largely to help parents make choices about what school is best for their children. The Fraser Institute also believes that ranking and comparing schools promotes improvements in lower-ranked schools, while recognizing the achievements schools ranked in the higher echelons.

Canada’s Innovation Agenda: Where are we Going?

The key conclusion of Where are we Going? is that innovation in the Canadian economy is important because it is increasingly the key factor in generating wealth. This conclusion comes from a Public Policy Forum-led roundtable discussion on the issue of innovation in the knowledge economy. Roundtable participants – including private sector CEOs, deputy ministers, university presidents, and heads of research institutes – were tasked with exploring innovation in the Canadian economy.

Canadian Learning Institute Initiative: Discussion Document

In the September 2002 Speech From the Throne, the Government of Canada made a commitment to work with Canadians, provinces, sector councils, labour organizations and learning institutions to create the skills and learning architecture that Canada would need. This led, in November 2002, to the announcement that the Government of Canada would develop the Canadian Learning Institute – an initiative that was reaffirmed in the February 2003 Budget.

Caring for Canadians in a Canada Strong and Free

Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning discuss the “vision deficit” and “policy deficit” they consider to be evident in Canadian politics, particularly at the federal level.

Collegial Models for Enhancing the Performance of University Professors

This article by Rodney A. Clifton and Hymie Rubenstein offers a manner of analyzing and upgrading the performance of Canadian university professors – both as teachers and as scholars. The authors offer a “performance-based, but collegially grounded, model for compensating departments” rather than the models currently used, which are individualistic and needs-based. Such a system would respect concerns regarding the sanctity of tenure while, at the same time, establishing effective incentives for better performance from tenure-track professors. The system would “preserve existent university collective decision-making while making the teaching and scholarly performance of professors more transparent, accountable, and related to the distribution of resources.” The authors warn, however, that implementing their system will be difficult considering the role traditionally played by university politics.

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