As parents, we have many education options for our children: public, private, home-schooling and in some cases, hybrids of these different forms.
I started school when I lived on a small farm in central Alberta where rides on a big yellow bus were routine. At times, I had quite the entourage walk me to the bus stop: my dog, Suzie, the goat and maybe a cat. The school was small, especially compared to my graduating class years later in a different city and province.
Times change and later, my wife and I (but mostly my wife) home-schooled our children for a number of years and then sent them off to public school.
What does the future hold for our current education system? Is it meeting our children’s needs? How can we make the education system even better? These are some of the questions we ask ourselves in this issue of the IMFC Review.
In parts of our country, those running the school system appear to have more authority than those who are actually using it. In British Columbia, 15,000 parents just signed a petition challenging the province on who can influence curriculum changes. Province by province, systems vary, as does academic calibre. Alberta has opened the door to charter schools, something John Robson explores in depth on page 21, while Ontario maintains one public school system where Catholic schools also receive funding. Each province will need to address challenges successfully: for example, how we conduct special education. An international and historical look at developments in special education is covered extensively by David Carter in this issue. Paul Faris presents a detailed, national survey of home schooling on page 16, to help Canadians understand just what home-schooling is and what it achieves. But whether it concerns religious education, curriculum changes or larger structural modifications – like opening the doors to publicly funded charter and private schools – provincial education systems need to adapt to big changes.
We need to step back and re-evaluate our objectives. Only then can we more accurately and realistically plan for the future.
I hope that you are challenged by some of what you read in this issue of the IMFC Review.
Until next time, all the best.