Learning to School: Federalism and Public Schooling in Canada

By Jennifer Wallner

© 2014

Among countries in the industrialized world, Canada is the only one without a national department of education, national standards for education, and national regulations for elementary or secondary schooling. For many observers, the system seems impractical and almost incoherent. But despite a total lack of federal oversight, the educational policies of all ten provinces are very similar today. Without intervention from Ottawa, the provinces have fashioned what amounts to a de facto pan-Canadian system.

Learning to School explains how and why the provinces have achieved this unexpected result. Beginning with the earliest provincial education policies and taking readers right up to contemporary policy debates, the book chronicles how, through learning and cooperation, the provinces gradually established a country-wide system of public schooling. A rich and ambitious work of scholarship, it will appeal to readers seeking fresh insights on Canadian federalism, education policy, and policy diffusion.

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED MAY 2014

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Quick Overview

Beginning with the earliest provincial education policies and taking readers right up to contemporary policy debates, Learning to School chronicles how, through learning and cooperation, the provinces gradually established a country-wide system of public schooling.

Learning to School: Federalism and Public Schooling in Canada

By Jennifer Wallner

© 2014

Among countries in the industrialized world, Canada is the only one without a national department of education, national standards for education, and national regulations for elementary or secondary schooling. For many observers, the system seems impractical and almost incoherent. But despite a total lack of federal oversight, the educational policies of all ten provinces are very similar today. Without intervention from Ottawa, the provinces have fashioned what amounts to a de facto pan-Canadian system.

Learning to School explains how and why the provinces have achieved this unexpected result. Beginning with the earliest provincial education policies and taking readers right up to contemporary policy debates, the book chronicles how, through learning and cooperation, the provinces gradually established a country-wide system of public schooling. A rich and ambitious work of scholarship, it will appeal to readers seeking fresh insights on Canadian federalism, education policy, and policy diffusion.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    “Well written, solidly documented, and cogently argued, Learning to School shows, with precision and a wealth of details, how autonomous provincial governments can achieve pan-Canadian convergence and common standards without federal rules or incentives. As such, the argument breaks with the conventional wisdom about federalism and offers a distinctive standpoint to assess intergovernmental relations in Canada. Wallner’s conclusions will be of interest to students of federalism, both in Canada and abroad, to specialists of Canadian politics, and to scholars interested in public policy in general.”
    Alain Noël, Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal

    Learning to School is a significant addition to the literature on comparative federalism and social policy and, specifically, to the literature on educational policy and federalism in Canada.”


    Miriam Smith, Department of Social Science, York University
  • Author Information

    Jennifer Wallner is an assistant professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa.
  • Table of contents

    List of Tables

    List of Appendices

    List of Abbreviations

    Introduction: An Unexpected Policy Framework

    1. Defying the Odds I: Provincial Educational Investments and Achievements

    2. Defying the Odds II: Provincial Education Policies

    3. Theorizing Policy Frameworks in Federations

    4. Founding and Consolidating Provincial Public Schooling

    5. Universalizing Provincial Schooling

    6. Individualizing Provincial Schooling

    7. Standardizing Provincial Schooling

    Conclusion: Learning to School

    Appendices

    Notes

    Bibliography

    Index

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