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ERIC Number: ED546892
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 35
Reframing Public Education as a Public Good
Froese-Germain, Bernie
Canadian Teachers' Federation
In his 1847 "Report on a System of Public Elementary Instruction for Upper Canada", Egerton Ryerson stated that public education was created in Canada to ensure that youth were prepared for their "appropriate duties and employments of life … as persons of business, and also as members of the civil community in which they live." As beneficiaries of the public education system, Ryerson recognized, that education is much more than the transfer of basic numeracy and literacy skills from teacher to student--an important goal of public education in a democracy is to prepare all students for active participation in society. Public schools look and function like the democratic, civil, pluralist society of which they are an integral part." According to Janet Keeping and David King, the following are among the most valuable characteristics of public education: (1) All children have a right to be included in public education, and the community has a responsibility to be inclusive: every adult in a community has both a right and a responsibility to be involved in the education of all children, not just their own or their grandchildren's; (2) Public education celebrates diversity. Children should be educated together, not in order to try to make them all the same, but so they may come to value everyone's unique individuality; and (3) Public education supports social mobility because a democratic society will fail if it does not constantly strive for greater fairness, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to benefit from its public education system, regardless of economic status. This publication presents a discussion of the role that public education plays in fostering democracy. It asserts that Canadians share a civic culture that includes both individual and communitarian values as well as political institutions, such as democracy, the rule of law, and protection of human rights. This civic culture is shared from one generation to the next by means of public education. The author writes that many Canadians appear to have lost track of the role public schools play in the nurturing of society. Recently a more consumer-oriented approach to education has become popular. A need to re-frame and re-articulate fundamental aspects of public education is argued, along with a discussion of the role of teachers' unions as advocates for both public schools and the teaching profession as this process of reframing public education for the public good moves forward. The importance of listening to the teacher voice on educational change has been an important aspect of the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF's) work over the past few years. According to CTF, the discussion regarding advocacy for education as a public good can be framed by three questions: (1) What is at the heart of our message to society? (2) What argument will resonate with society? (3) What is the role of CTF and its Member organizations?
Canadian Teachers' Federation. 2490 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, ON K1H 1E1, Canada. Tel: 866-283-1505; Tel: 613-232-1505; Fax: 613-232-1886; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Canadian Teachers' Federation
Identifiers - Location: Canada; Finland
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Program for International Student Assessment