Ben Levin, Canada

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  • 1. An Ontario Perspective onEducation Policy and Practice
    Asia Society/CCSSO
    Washington, April 2010
    Ben Levin
    OISE University of Toronto
    (with thanks to Michael Fullan)

2. 3. Ontario
13 million people
2 million students
Very diverse 25%+ foreign born
4,000 elementary. 900 secondary schools
72 local school districts from very small to very large
4 distinct, self-governing systems
120,000 teachers, fully unionized, 4 unions
5% enrolled in private schools
4. Ontario in 2003
Stagnant student achievement in literacy and numeracy
Declining high school graduation rate
Much public conflict
Growing private school enrolment
Low morale of teachers and administrators
5. Ontario 2009
Literacy and numeracy achievement(including higher order skills) increased by 13 percentage points
Number of low performing schools cut by 75%
High school graduation rate increased from 68% to 79% - 20,000 more per year
Attrition rate of new teachers in the first four years of teaching has declined by two-thirds from 32% to 9%
Ownership, commitment and capacity to go deeper is strong
6. Ontario Strategy
Unwavering commitment from the top
Three simple goals better outcomes, greater equity, improved public confidence
Guiding Coalition monitoring implementation
Change in the Ministry of Education/ capacity to engage in implementation
Partnership with the sector
Focus on collective capacity building with link to results
Transparency of results and practices
Reduce distractors including establishing long-term (4-year) collective agreements
7. The Content
Moral purpose with respect to raising the bar and closing the gap for the well being of children
High school graduation
Early learning
(The above are deeply defined to include higher order skills and associated instructional innovation)
8. Implementation Strategies
High standards
Clear, accessible data
*Collective capacity building
Transparent accountability (re results of practice)
*The most powerful strategy and typically the most underutilized
9. The Reinforcers
Resolute leadership
Respect for the sector
Reduce the distractors
10. Directional Solutions
Individual capacity is arithmetical;collective capacity is geometrical
Capacity without serious delivery = squandered reform
Delivery without capacity = superficial reform
Collective capacity + serious delivery = outstanding reform
Collective capacity is an investment in the long-term health of the system
Barber & Fullan, 2010
11. Incentives That Work for Teachers
Reasonable salaries
Decent surroundings
Extensive professional learning
Opportunity to work with and learn from others
Supportive and even assertive leadership about the agenda
Getting helpful feedback
Reasonable class size
Long term collective agreements (4 years)
Realizable moral purpose
Leithwood (2006)
12. In Sum
Have a clear strategy
Ground it in evidence
Focus on doing it
Get lots of feedback and adjust
Respect and work with partners