Senate Committee on Human Rights asks CSBA for assistance as they study the impact of cyberbullying
Today marks a National Day of Action to make Shannen’s Dream a reality. Hundreds of students in Ottawa will support this Day of Action by marching on Parliament, demanding the Federal Government to address the issue of educational equity for First Nations students.
Shannen Koostachen was a student activist who advocated for funding equality and safe conditions for First Nations schools, before she passed away in a tragic accident in May 2010. Funding inequities for First Nations Schools have resulted in conditions of extremely poor quality for First Nations students. Shannen Koostachin’s dream was to attend a new school in her First Nations community of Attawapiskat; she and her classmates attended school in portables in substandard and dangerous conditions, because her school was sitting on toxic land. The community has waited for over ten years for a new school.
The campaign for Shannen’s Dream was initiated by MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay), who introduced Motion 571 “Shannen’s Dream” into the House of Commons. This motion was supported by the CSBA, and calls for First Nations children to have the “right to high-quality, culturally relevant education, transparency in school construction, maintenance and replacement, and funding that will put reserve schools on par with non-reserve provincial schools.”
The issue of equitable funding for first Nations students is of national importance. During this federal election campaign, The President of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, Catherine Fife, states that it is time for all political parties to make a commitment to an equitable approach to education funding.
How can we stand by, watch and do nothing? Standing up for the rights of children, whether or not they live in our community, allows us to confront inequity and, more importantly, involves us in acknowledging that our future as a country is linked with that of First Nations peoples. This is a vision and commitment that has to be defended.
Toronto Star, April 26th
To get involved in Shannen’s Dream and the National Day of Action, see the information provided by First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.
Last week, the CSBA presented to CMEC during their 99th meeting (CMEC 99). This meeting provided Ministers the opportunity to advance work on the priorities outlines in Learn Canada 2020, a guiding framework and joint ministerial statement that focuses on lifelong learning in four areas: early childhood learning and development, elementary and secondary schooling, postsecondary education, and adult learning and skills development.
The Ministers of Education addressed 21st century learning competencies, including critical thinking, information literacy, collaborative learning, and new modes of civic engagement.
The CSBA appreciated the opportunity to present the Association’s 21st century learning intitiative, “Canadian Students as Global Citizens,” defined as:
Canadian students are the world’s citizens, with the potential to make quality contributions to a constantly adapting, fast-changing global economy. Public education must prepare them to meet this challenge.
This presentation and dialogue focused on developing insight and defining a new skill set for the 21st century, as well as the development of a common Pan-Canadian vision for 21st century learning. Provincial associations highlighted those initiatives that are contributing to CSBA’s role and vision of 21st century learning. These included provincial forums in collaboration with Ministries, personalized learning initiatives, action plans and innovative practices in Aboriginal Education, innovative models of labour relations, promotion of early learning and care, models of sustainable technology and promotion of policy for distance learning infrastructure. In addition, CSBA’s member provinces brought forward their public engagement initiatives with the goal of promoting and encouraging dialogue around 21st century learning competencies.
The CSBA thanks CMEC for the opportunity to engage in a dialogue surrounding a vision for 21st century learning. We are looking forward to future opportunities to communicate information and take action towards a vision of 21st century learning in Canadian public education.
In addition, CSBA is working towards identifying opportunities for collaboration with national partners in education, with the goal of advancing a vision of 21st century learning for all Canadian students. A large focus of our work is community engagement and information-sharing. To meet this goal, we have new interactive tools in place. We want to hear from you-please send us your feedback by leaving your comment at the end of this post, or via Facebook and Twitter.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA), in collaboration with the SSBA Aboriginal Council, has identified a strategic plan to address First Nation and Métis education in the province’s public schools. The “First Nations and Métis Education Action Plan 2010-2012” contains four strategic results:
To ensure that Saskatchewan School Boards are supported in establishing a representative workforce.
To ensure that Saskatchewan school boards are succeeding in narrowing the achievement gap for children of Aboriginal ancestry.
To ensure that Saskatchewan school boards are establishing effective practices for engaging First Nations and Métis people in the publicly-funded system.
To ensure that the Aboriginal Council is advancing work within the SSBA to support engagement of First Nations and Métis peoples and to strengthen student achievement.
SSBA, “The School Trustee,” November 2010
In line with these strategic results, SSBA has launched new projects and initiatives. One of these projects, initiated through the Aboriginal Employment Development Program, is the Aboriginal Myths and Misconceptions Pilot Project, in collaboration with Horizon School District. The project consists of six one-hour training sessions. Presented through webinar and audio conferencing, the project is provided to staff at various schools in the district. The content covers several areas in Aboriginal education, with the goal of sensitizing individuals to Federal legislation, land rights, traditions and culture of the Métis people, as well as dispelling myths and common misconceptions regarding Aboriginal peoples.
SSBA has also pursued another project to directly affect and improve student achievement and public engagement among First Nation and Métis students in the schools. “Strengthening our Voice” is a guidebook that is in production and co-authored by Karen Shmon of the Gabriel Dumont Institute and Sheila Pocha, Principal at Sutherland School within the Saskatoon Public Schools. The authors point out that the creation of welcoming environments is specific to each school culture and environment.
This is going to be very specific to each school because they each have factors that give them a slightly different set of needs depending on where they are, who the student body is and how engaged the parents are. It’s going to have to be tailor-made and there is no such thing as one solution that will fit all.
Karen Shmon, Gabriel Dumont institute
The documentary film “Waiting for Superman” , which originally premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, was just released this month. This film provides an in-depth commentary and analysis on the US public education system.
The film provides a very serious critique of the US educational system. However, it also highlights leaders and organizations who are trying to implement change and reform in the public education system. It demonstrates how schools can have a positive and important impact on the community as a whole. Some of the leaders and organizations mentioned:
Bill Gates’ recent interview in Maclean’s magazine and an op-ed piece in the Washington Post provide an interesting analysis of the challenges in the US public system as well as recommendations for the future.
With the release of this film a number Canadian publications and commentaries have been released. Many are attempting to answer the question: what are the differences between the US and Canadian education systems, and how do Canadian students measure up?
In order to answer these questions, it is important to understand that the US and Canadian public education systems are fundamentally very different in their structure, policy and funding. The US model operates with a primarily centralized model, run by the US Department of Education. The Canadian public education system is decentralized. Education is under the jurisdiction of the provincial or territorial Ministries of Education.
Despite the fact that education is a provincial responsibility, there exist many similarities between the provinces. Organizations such as the Council of Ministers of Education, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Canadian Education Association and the Canadian School Boards Association regularly share information, conduct research and establish best practices in Pan-Canadian issues and priorities in education.
To assess how Canadian students fare in relation to their American counterparts as well as internationally, it is important to look at the results of The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This assessment of reading, math and science skills is a combined effort by the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The last results were compiled in the PISA 2006 Canadian Report. New results on the PISA 2009 Canadian Report will be available in December 2010.
Results from the PISA 2006 Canadian Report revealed that Canadian students are top performers internationally in reading, math and science. Out of the 57 reporting countries, Canada ranked 3rd in science, 4th in reading, and 6th in math. For a comprehensive compilation and analysis of these PISA results, see the Canadian Education Association’s recent overview, “A Canadian Perspective”.
Although Canadian students clearly excel internationally, there is more work to be done in the goal for continuous school improvement (such as the area of student engagement). The implementation of best practices, putting quality research evidence into practice, and continued collaboration between governments, industry, schools and communities is required to ensure that our students are leaders and innovators in the new global economy.
Although a clear comparison cannot be made between the Canadian and US education systems, a quote from the producer of “Waiting for Superman” can be applied to the school system in both countries. Lesley Chilcott talks about the importance of public engagement in education for our future:
“Even if you don’t have kids, you should care about public education…if we want to solve global warming, poverty, health care and the economy, we need to have an educated society. Education is ground zero for tackling all these issues.” — Lesley Chilcott
With a view to continuous school improvement and transformation of education, the Canadian Education Association and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy (SCOPE) in Education are hosting the following upcoming public forums and events:
Stay tuned for posts from the CSBA as we highlight best practices in our school boards across our country. Join our community to voice your thoughts on our public education system.
What do you think about the documentary “Waiting For Superman?” Who are some of our Canadian leaders and innovators in education?
Early Learning and Care Impact Analysis, a new report from the Centre for Spatial Economics with support from the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, was released August 30th. This study calculated the short and long-term economic benefits of the implementation of Ontario’s Full Day Early Learning Program. This study concluded that the program will have a positive impact not only on student academic achievement, but on the Ontario economy as a whole (based on the 2009 Early Learning Report containing a recommendation for a common programming framework for Ontario — see their complete summary).
Some of the highlights include:
This report provides concrete economic evidence to support early learning initiatives across Canada.
The recent decision by the federal government to eliminate the long-form census in favour of a voluntary form has provoked a fierce debate across the country.
Policy-makers in education, at all levels, use census data to make informed and reliable decisions with information gathered by the long-form census. The education sector depends on census data for decision-making in areas that directly affect Canadian students; such as the distribution of resources, teacher hiring, services to minority language communities, evaluation of student achievement in areas such as Aboriginal education, the creation of new programming, and educational research.
Statistics Canada’s “Educational Portrait of Canada” from Canada’s last census in 2006, provides a comprehensive and valuable analysis of educational data. Making the long form census voluntary using the National Household Survey could limit the amount of available data for analysis.
Our member associations have issued news and media releases on the census that might be of interest to you.
One of the priorities of the CSBA is to promote educational opportunities and student achievement for aboriginal students across Canada, as identified in Learn Canada 2020 (Council of Ministers of Education, Canada).
Our member provincial associations have done extensive work and action in this area , and we invite you to view their websites, accessible by clicking on “About Us” under the main menu, and selecting “Who We Are” on the subtopic menu.
A guiding framework for educational institutions across Canada is the Accord on Indigenous Education launched in June 2010 by the Association of Canadian Deans of Education. The goal of the Accord is to recognize and promote Indigenous values and knowledge in education across Canada.
This Accord recognizes the importance of establishing means to “increase Indigenous educational engagement, establish partnerships with Indigenous organizations and communities, and establish educational frameworks based on Indigenous knowledge.” (Association of Canadian Deans of Education Accord on Indigenous Education). In order to affect change in the Canadian education system, the following goals are outlined in the Accord:
The Copyright Modernization Act addresses several areas that impact education; specifically, it addresses the educational use of digital technologies in schools and materials that are accessible on the Internet.
The government has set up a site called Balanced Copyright
The Ontario Public School Boards Association, on behalf of the CSBA, has been instrumental in advocating for Copyright reform in the schools. The CSBA has written a letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages as well as the Minister of Industry Canada in support of the passage of Bill C-32. To view this letter, click here. In addition, you can access the Copyright information Bulletins on the OPSBA website
One of the CSBA’s priorities is a focus on “Canadian Students as Global Citizens.” This initiative encompasses many areas, with a goal to providing students with the skills that they need to compete in the global market. Technology implementation in Canadian schools in one issue that Canadians agree is an important aspect in meeting this goal.
Last month, in an educational supplement to the National Post, the CSBA commented on the future use of technology in schools across Canada. We touched on some challenges involved in technology implementation in schools:
–Keeping pace-the rapid progression and introduction of new technologies;
–Teacher as facilitator-the changing role of the teacher in light of new technologies;
–Critical thinkers-ensuring that our students have the critical thinking skills to use technology to effectively improve their learning
–Sustainability-Consistent, quality technological implementation requires funding and support for teacher training and curriculum integration.
The Canadian perspective on technology implementation in public schools….we want to hear from you!
We welcome your comments and feedback on this issue:
What are some of the challenges that you face in your boards/districts?
What types of technology are your students in your provinces, boards and districts using and how has it impacted their learning in the classroom and beyond?
For additional policy information on technology implementation, please visit the Canadian Education Association’s webpage (in collaboration with Industry Canada’s SchoolNet) on “Focus on ICT”