Public School and Political Ideas: Canadian Educational Policy in Historical Perspective
Published: December 1994© 1994
366 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
Education in Canda has become the scene of ongoing conflict, with various factions vying for representation of their political, economic, and cultural interests. Schools have become obejcts of domination and products of compromise. In this book, Ronald Manzer interprets the political ideas and beliefs that underlie educational politicies and give them meaning. His analysis begins with the foundation of state education in the mid-nineteenth century and brings us up to date with the prospective reforms of the early 1990s. Manzer argues that, from its foundation, elementary and secondary education in Canada has been dominated by liberal conceptions and principles, with each successive liberal ideology taking its place as a public philosophy for state education. He brings a wealth of information to his analysis, examining curricula, district organization, laws, finance, and personnel for each Canadian province. The result is a splendidly detailed national picture and a clear, historical view of each province's values, ideas, and practices.
This interface of public policy with political philosophy is original in its depth and scope. No other book offers such a comprehensive view of the past and potential of Canadian education policy.
'As stakes in power struggles, public schools are not only objects of domination and products of compromise, they are also potentially agencies for creating political consensus. Their oganization and curricula may be imposed by a dominant social group or result from accommodation among conflicting interests. They may also result from rethinking and redefining conflicting particular interests into a common public interest or reconstructing competing ideological doctrines into a shared public philosophy.' From the introduction.