in progress edited by Daniel
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)
This year, the five members of the Royal Commission on Learning of Ontario, Canada, released the report 'For the Love of Learning'. This publication concluded more that 18 months of deliberations in which the five commissioners (Monique Begin, Gerry Caplan, Manisha Bharti, Avis Glaze and Dennis Murphy) listened to 1,400 submissions in 27 centres across the province and examined 3,600 additional presentations. Additionally, the Commission conducted a special youth outreach program, reviewed the research in the field, met with experts and scrutinized education systems in other jurisdictions.
Through four volumes, 550 pages and 167 recommendations, the report 'For the Love of Learning' provided a blueprint for school reform in Ontario, the most populated province of Canada. In this report, the Commission argued that educational reform should be oorganized around four main engines: Teacher professionalization and development, community alliances, early childhood education, and information technology.
In relation to the first engine, the Commission recommended that teacher preparation be extended from one to two years, that professional development be mandatory that all educators, and that a College of Teachers be established as an independent professional body to determine professional standards and be responsible for certifying teachers and for accrediting teacher education programs.
In relation to the second engine (community alliances), one of the key recommendations was that all schools create a school-community council, with staff, parents, students and community representatives, to better link school and community.
Regarding early childhood education, the Commission recommended that the province offer school readiness programs for all three-year-olds whose parents wish to enroll them.
In the area of information technology, the Commission recommended that government and business must cooperate to provide schools with network links and appropriate technological resources.
Among the curriculum recommendations were the destreaming from Grades 1 to 9 (with specialization from Grades 10 to 12), eliminating the 13th year, assessing literacy and numeracy skills through province-wide tests in grades 3 and 11, and curriculum content reflecting more accurately aboriginal history, culture and contribution to Canadian society.
In the area of funding, the Commission recommended that all residential property owners direct taxes to their chosen school system, and that undirected taxes be pooled and distributed on a per-pupil basis.
In the area of governance, it was recommended that all trustees be part-time and receive a maximum annual honorarium of $20,000. At the same time, it was pointed out that the trustees' role should be policy-making, not hands-on school management.
Other recommendations included a students' Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, the inclusion of a secondary school student with voting privileges on every board, and a provincial Student and Youth Advisory Council. It was also recommended a set of anti-racism policies, training and teaching materials, the integration of special needs students, the acceleration as an option for gifted students, and the participation of business in school-community councils and in cooperative education projects.
For the complete description of the 167 recommendations of the Royal Commission on Learning, please visit this webpage:
Government of Ontario (1994). Royal Commission on Learning. For the Love of Learning: Report of the Royal Commission on Learning. 4 vols. Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario.
Government of Ontario (1995). Royal Commission on Learning provides a blueprint for changing Ontario schools. Ministry of Education, Toronto, January 26.
Prepared by DS, 2005.
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