IPE/BC Commons

Education Funding

Critical Response to “A Short History of K-12 Public School Spending in British Columbia”

“Recently a scholar at UBC, Jason Ellis, made the claim in a research article that “K-12 public education spending in British Columbia – adjusted for inflation – is 250 percent higher in 2020 than it was in 1970”. Concerned that readers might misinterpret such a claim, we authored an article offering both a critique of that claim and a more carefully conducted analysis of the available data. We illustrate how Ellis’ claim lacks a theoretical framework, is based on weak data sources, a flawed research method and skewed analysis that results in a misleading understanding of resource allocations in BC. We present alternative ways to understand spending on education in BC in an effort to correct the scholarly and public record.”

Daniel Laitsch, John Malcolmson and Larry Kuehn

Dr. Daniel Laitsch is the chairperson of the IPE/BC Board,  founding director for the Centre for Study of Educational Leadership, Associate Professor at SFU and Director of the SFU Surrey Campus Liaison, Faculty of Education. His research interests include examining the use of research by teachers, application of research to inform policy and practice and policy analysis.

John Malcolmson is on the IPE/BC Board of Direcformerly the CUPE research analyst for the K-12 sector. He is interested in education finance and, in particular, the mounting structural shortfall in K-12 funding produced as a result of neoliberal austerity imposed from above and the changing role played by property taxation in public school funding.

Dr. Larry Kuehn is a member of the IPE/BC Board of Directors and chair of the Research and Programs Committee.  He is a research associate for the CCPA and retired BCTF Director of Research and Technology. He has written extensively on education matters including funding,  globalization, technology and privacy.

Neoliberalism and Public Education Finance in Canada: Reframing Educational Leadership as Entrepreneurship

This book, authored by Wendy Poole, Gerald Fallon and Vicheth Sen, reports on research that investigated the worlds of school district administrators (SDAs) in the education policy environment characterized by retrenchment of government expenditure on public education and the imperative for school districts to actively generate supplementary revenue through entrepreneurial and other means.  It reports on the kinds of initiatives that SDAs undertook to protect public funding and to generate new sources of funding through business-like activities, paying attention to the ways in which the SDAs responded to the policy environment differently according to their understandings of local contextual conditions.  Themes that permeate various chapters of the book include:

(1) the impact of entrepreneurial public education finance policy on financial equity between school districts in a spatially diverse province and the implications for equity of student access to quality education; and

(2) how SDAs negotiated their subjectivities as educational leaders within a policy rationality that
compelled a business-like model of leadership.

“We propose a vision of educational leadership that transcends the parochialism and self-interestedness of entrepreneurial leadership at the school district level and that moves toward public education and educational leadership for the common good.”                      Dr. Wendy Poole 

Dr. Poole, a former secondary teacher and leader, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at UBC. Her research  interests include educational leadership, teacher unionism and education policy, particularly neo-liberal policy and its impact on students, teachers, administrators and school communities.

Dr. Fallon’s research interests include school and education system managementand cultural diversity.  education law, policy, sustainability and leadership.  He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at UBC. Dr. Fallon also has extensive experience in school and district leadership positions.

Dr. Vicheth Sen is a sessional instructor in the Department of Educational Studies at UBC. His research interests include adult and higher education and social justice/equity in ‘postcolonial’ and post-conflict/transitionalsocieties, neoliberalism and public education, and adult learning and sustainability.

 

IPE/BC Commons

Indigenization in Education

Interview with Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams 

This interview was originally published in the October edition of the Bulletin, produced by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT/ACPPU).

Indigenization is when we’re able to embed Indigenous points of view and ways of being within our practice in institutions and in society. When we can be who we are, and it’s understood and recognized either in public or within institutions.

Lorna Wanosts’a7 Williams is a member of the Lil’wat First Nation of Mount Currie, British Columbia. She led the development of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Indigenous Language Revitalization, and a Master’s in Counselling in Indigenous Communities at the University of Victoria, where she is Professor Emerita of Indigenous Education, Curriculum and Instruction. She also developed a mandatory course in Indigenous Education for all teacher education students in British Columbia. Williams received the Order of Canada in December 2020.

 

IPE/BC Commons

Equity, Access and Inclusion

 

Inclusion interrupted? The impact of COVID restrictions on inclusion and belonging in classroom communities  (See page 13) 

While many schools and classrooms have been working hard to forge a path towards implementing more inclusive practices that aim to service and value all students, the challenges presented by government regulations during the 2020-2021 school year had significant impacts on the ability of schools and classroom teachers to maintain those environments and practices for students. Based on personal observations and reflections, this commentary explores some of the challenges and effects of COVID regulations (i.e. social distancing, limited access to school during non-instructional times, suspension of extracurricular activities, hybrid-learning) on classroom communities. Additionally, comments focus on the impact of regulations on the ability of educators and students to sustain a sense of belonging and the ability of educators to service diverse student needs within the context of COVID policies.”                    Dr. Gemma Porter 

Dr. Gemma Porter is an Assistant Professor at Acadia University and an experienced middle and secondary school teacher. Her teaching interests include Social Studies methods, creative integration of curriculum, principles and practices, and the sociological, historical and philosophical foundations of education.   Dr. Porter’s dissertation focused on the history of the Social Studies curriculum in Saskatchewan, including the dominant narratives about Canada and the explicit and implicit messages conveyed through official curriculum.

BCEdAccess Presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services 

On August 31st, 2021, Tracy Humphries, BCEDAccess, presented to this legislative committee during its annual consultation process after which it will make recommendations to government to consider in developing the provincial budget.

“I’m here to ask you today to invest, in a significant way, in K-to-12 education, which is still experiencing budget cuts every year. On the table were approximately $100 million in cuts among the 60 school districts for the 2021-22 school year, many of those targeting inclusive education, and there’s more cuts on the table for next school year.”

Tracy Humphries is the Founder and Chair of BCEdAccess.  She has been an active volunteer in public schools for over twenty years and has served on her local Parent Advisory  Councils and the District Parent Advisory Council in Victoria.  She is a dedicated advocate for families of children with disabilities.

 

IPE/BC Commons

The Pandemic and Public Education

Finding Our Way Through a Pandemic: Teaching in Alternate Modes of Delivery

“In a search for themes to connect all the promising pedagogies, I came to realize that a critical element in each of these lessons was connecting individual students, living, and studying in isolation all over the world, to others socially, in small groups, and to the whole class. Both teachers and students faced serious challenges in alternate delivery modes of instruction. But in our search for effective ways to engage students in their virtual learning environments, teachers, and researchers have an incredible opportunity at this time to learn from one another.”    Dr. Edward Howe, Dr. Georgann Cope Watson 

Dr. Edward Howe is Professor and Chair, School of Education, Faculty of Education and Social Work, Thompson Rivers University. His research focused on comparative and international education, teacher induction, self study and narrative inquiry.  Dr. Howe is an IPE/BC Fellow.

Dr. Georgann Cope Watson  is an Open Learning Faculty Member at Thompson Rivers University and a Sessional Lecturer at Brock University. Her research interests include the pedagogy of online teaching and adult education.

Student Agency in COVID Times 

“What lessons can we learn from having to adapt teaching and learning during the pandemic? COVID-19 separated us and now we pine to be together as a community and learn together as a community. We want and need to bring back humanity, strive for learning that is student-centred, competency-based, personalized, and interdisciplinary.  To regain our sense of power during the pandemic and beyond is to understand and exercise our agency as educators and feel good about letting go of some of what we previously did – because doing so allows us to get to the heart of teaching and learning.”  Christine Ho Younghusband.

Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband teaches in teacher education program at the University of Northern British Columbia in the School of Education. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership and has served as a school trustee, BC School Trustee’ Association Director, secondary mathematics teacher and curriculum developer.

 

Don’t Let This Viral Wave Swamp Our Kids

“Raffi and I collaborated on this commentary out of a shared concern about the lack of protections for children returning to school, especially among those who are not yet eligible for vaccination. The Delta variant is much more infectious than previous variants and original COVID-19, and yet, children returned to school with fewer public health measures in place. Our commentary discusses the current state of the evidence of COVID-19 in children, and how infection and transmission risks can be reduced through evidence-based public health interventions. Ultimately, Raffi and I urge government and public health officials to honour children and adopt the precautionary principle when it comes to implementing protections that can help prevent infection among children.” Andrew Longhurst

Andrew Longhurst is a researcher and policy analysist with the BC Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He is also a researcher and PhD student in SFU’s department of geography. His research interests include health and social policy, poverty and inequality, and labour market change.  Raffi Cavoukian is a singer, author and founder of Child Honouring who has received both the Order of BC and the Order of Canada.

Comparing School COVID-19 Policies Across Canada 

Thanks very much to People for Education, Ontario, for tracking and updating the COVID-19 policies and practices in public schools coast to coast to coast.

 

 

IPE/BC Commons

Public Education and Privatization

Self-checkout education 

“Neoliberal efforts to transform public education existed prior to the pandemic; however, the uncertainty of this moment has created openings to further these endeavors. Despite an utter lack of research about sustained online learning in the K-12 context, investments in e-frastructure made through the pandemic are now being used to advance online learning across Canada. Through an interview-based study, Teachers’ Homework: Online Learning Through COVID19, we spoke to 14 teachers from across Manitoba about their experiences “pivoting” to an online environment. Through this article, we share three prevalent themes from the interviews: deprofessionalizing, demoralizing, dehumanizing.”  Dr. Shannon  DM Moore, Dr. Bruno de Oliveira Jayme

Dr. Shannon DM Moore is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba, where she teaches courses in media education, social studies education, social justice pedagogy, and research methodologies.  She previously taught social studies and English in the K-12 public school system. Dr. Moore’s research interests include the incorporation of media education and theories of social justice into the social studies context, the ways in which youth make sense of sexualities conveyed in digital media, and the impact of neo-liberal policies on public schools and schooling.

Dr. Bruno de Oliveira Jayme is also an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba where he teaches courses on curriculum leadership, cultural leadership and social learning through the arts, art-based teaching and education research, and developing a responsive pedagodgy among others.  In addition to teaching at the university level, Dr. Jayme has taught elementary and secondary students in BC, Manitoba and Brazil. His research interests include critical pedagogies, arts-based education, social justice and civic engagement, and media literacies.

After 60 years, do the arguments for K-12 vouchers still hold?

“Public education is a public interest, but there are also real questions related to funding, governance, and the role of private industry in provision of education to the public. These questions can, and should, be informed by research data and scholarly analysis. This article explores the the arguments for K-12 voucher programs in light of 60+ years of gathered research evidence.” Dr. Dan Laitsch

Dr. Daniel Laitsch is the Chairperson of the Institute for Public Education’s Board of Directors.  He is a founding director for the Centre for Study of Educational Leadership, Associate Professor at SFU and Director of the SFU Surrey Campus Liaison, Faculty of Education. His research interests include examining the use of research by teachers, application of research to inform policy and practice and policy analysis.

IPE/BC Commons

Leadership and Governance

British Columbia School Trustees Use of Research and Information Seeking in Decision Making

“Public education is a public interest, but there are also real questions related to funding, governance, and the role of private industry in provision of education to the public. These questions can, and should, be informed by research data and scholarly analysis. BC’s school trustees gather information from a wide range of resources as they navigate the decisions they need to make—education scholars interested in informing those decisions may want to think more strategically about how they engage education leaders.” Dr. Daniel Laitsch

Dr. Daniel Laitsch is the Chairperson of the Institute for Public Education’s Board of Directors.  He is a founding director for the Centre for Study of Educational Leadership, Associate Professor at SFU and Director of the SFU Surrey Campus Liaison, Faculty of Education. His research interests include examining the use of research by teachers, application of research to inform policy and practice and policy analysis.

Leading from the Heart

“I am an avid reflective practitioner and while reflecting on my strengths and stretches as an educator and researcher for a particular position in this blog post, I was brought back to the ideas of leadership, community, and compassion. In my imagination, the making comes from the breaking. How can we rebuild and hold each other up as we attempt to create equitable and inclusive learning environments? What role do we play? What can you do?”    Christine Ho Younghusband

Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband is Assistant Professor at UNBC School of Education and an Affiliate Scholar at Centre for the Study of Educational Leadership and Policy at SFU.  She holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from SFU and a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction. She has extensive experience in the field of education having been a secondary math teacher, a trustee on the Board of Education for SD46, and a member of the BC School Trustees’ Association Board of Directors.

IPE/BC Commons

Technology and Public Education

Why freemium software has no place in our classrooms

Published in The Conversation, June 13, 2022

“Educational settings should focus on equity, especially when it comes to decisions related to the use of technology for teaching and learning.

In educational settings, software-whether for teaching and learning or for parent-teacher communication- should not have tiered offerings where users who have the financial means to pay are privy to a better version of the software with additonal feature and tools.”  Lucas Johnson 

Lucas Johnson is a PHD student in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University and an Education Technologies Facilitator.  His research is focused on examining the decisions related to education technology selection and implementation, including the reasons tools end up being used in classrooms.  

Digital Technology and BC Education: Underlying issues revealed by COVID-19   

See pages 10-12.

“Like so many aspects of life COVID-19 has altered, teaching and learning practices in BC’s public schools have dramatically shifted over the past year. Among the many adaptations teachers have made, online instruction has become a key strategy for preserving ‘continuity of learning’ for students both when schools were initially closed in Spring 2020, and in ongoing remote and hybrid arrangements since.Just prior to the pandemic outbreak, the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) brought together teachers for a one-day think tank on the topic of Education and Technology. The goals of the day included developing a deeper understanding of the impacts of technology on BC’s public education sector. At the time, teachers already expressed concerns about the effects of technology on the datafication of student learning and assessment, the (un)sustainability of teachers’ increasing workloads, and the encroachment of ed tech companies into teaching and learning.

The piece first appeared in the Summer/Fall 2020 issue of Our Schools/Our Selves, which focussed on how COVID-19 has presented an opportunity to radically rethink how public schools can be supported to meet society’s needs.”  Anne Hales, Michelle Gautreaux

Michelle Gautreaux holds a PHD in Curriculum Studies and has extensive research experience in the US and in BC.  Her interests include the impact of neoliberal education reforms, critical pedagogies, and social justice issues in education.  Anne Hales has taught in the K-12 public school system and instructed at SFU and is a doctoral candidate at UBC.  Anne’s research interests include teacher mentorship, professional development, mental health, and teacher union engagement.

IPE/BC Commons

Education Policy and Practice 

Music unites us: a teacher educator and teacher candidate comparative ethnographic narrative inquiry  into the benefits of music education

“Music inspires and uplifts us. Music education is essential to our health and wellbeing. The fine arts should not be relegated to the sidelines of curriculum, teaching, and learning but should be front and centre.

In sum, this research investigated music education through the lens of students, a teacher candidate, and a teacher educator to provide evidence of the many benefits of music education and the importance of music education for all, for music unites us.”                  Dr. Edward Howe

Dr. Edward Howe is Professor and Chair, School of Education, Faculty of Education and Social Work, Thompson Rivers University. His research focuses on comparative and international education, teacher induction, self study and narrative inquiry.  Dr. Howe is an IPE/BC Fellow.

Pause PISA international standardized student testing — it’s been two years of pandemic schooling stress

Along with 30,000 others across Canada, in the coming weeks thousands of BC students are being recruited to participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This three-hour series of tests, sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) claims to assess the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students in mathematics, reading, and science. While the subject of much debate by scholars, very little is understood about the ways that students and their parents/guardians are informed about and invited to participate in PISA. We raise some questions about PISA and why ministries of education across the country have decided to add this unnecessary burden on already overwhelmed students and school-communities.”  J-C Couture

J-C Couture is an adjunct colleague and instructor at the Faculty of Education, University of Alberta, and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. He previously coordinated the research program for the Alberta Teachers’ Association and served as a Research Fellow for Manchester Metropolitan University.  He is currently involved in a number of projects including developing graduate courses related to school leadership, curriculum renewal, and assessment. J-C co-authored this article with David Rutkowski, associate professor in Educational Policy and Educational Inquiry at Indiana University. 

Teacher Acculturation

Stories of Pathways to Teaching

“Teacher Acculturation provides a window into the world of novice teachers from the 1950s through present day. The thought-provoking stories provide a springboard for critical discussions about gender/sexuality, culture/race/ethnicity, Indigenous perspectives, SES/class/religion, location/space/time, and the challenges facing teachers in different contexts.”  Excerpt from publisher’s comments on Teacher  Acculturation by  Dr. Edward Howe

Dr. Edward Howe is Professor and Chair, School of Education, Faculty of Education and Social Work, Thompson Rivers University. His research focuses on comparative and international education, teacher induction, self study and narrative inquiry.  Dr. Howe is an IPE/BC Fellow.

BC Retired Teachers’ Association Advocates to Protect Class Size and Composition

“How can teachers understand and serve the needs of each and every child without healthy class sizes and student composition standards in schools?  From our experience, retired educators recognize it as the balancing point for all our hopes for effective teaching and learning.”

The BC Retired Teachers’ Association strongly supports active teachers in their need to maintain workable class sizes with proper support for the needs of students.”  Gerry Tiede

Gerry Tiede is the Past-President of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association and the President of Association Canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants retraités – Canadian Association of Retired Teachers (ACER-CART).  Prior to his retirement, Gerry was a school principal in the Surrey School District and was active in leadership in the BC Principals and Vice-Principals’ Association.  He holds a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Education Administration. 

Read more about the work of the BCRTA here. 

Class Size and Teacher Work

“We strongly believe that research should inform practice (and indeed, practice and research should flow together in a symbiotic relationship to protect and professionalize teaching). The research on class size is powerful and shows that for improving teaching and learning conditions in the classroom, smaller is better. But can research determine if “class size” is a working condition?” Dr. Daniel Laitsch, Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband

Dr. Daniel Laitsch is the Chairperson of the Institute for Public Education’s Board of Directors. He is a founding director for the Centre for Study of Educational Leadership, Associate Professor at SFU and Director of the SFU Surrey Campus Liaison, Faculty of Education. His research interests include examining the use of research by teachers, application of research to inform policy and practice and policy analysis.

Dr. Christine Ho Younghusband is Assistant Professor at UNBC School of Education and an Affiliate Scholar at Centre for the Study of Educational Leadership and Policy at SFU. She holds a PhD in Educational Leadership from SFU and a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction. She has extensive experience in the field of education having been a secondary math teacher, a trustee on the Board of Education for SD46, and a member of the BC School Trustees’ Association Board of Directors.

 

What if We Truly Put Teachers in Control of Educating?

Crawford Killian reviews a new book by Pasi Sahlberg and Timothy Walker, In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish Way to World-Class Schools, W.W.Norton(2021).

“I’ve been watching Finnish education for years, and had the privilege of getting to know Tim Walker and to sit in on one of his classes: https://thetyee.ca/News/2014/10/13/Succesful-Schools-Finland/. This is not his first book on the subject; he’s also written Teach Like Finland https://thetyee.ca/Culture/2017/08/29/Teach-Like-Finland/. He and his colleague Pasi Sahlberg make a persuasive case that we shouldn’t try to imitate the Finnish system, but we can apply many of its principles and techniques right now in our own classrooms—and get great results.”    Crawford Killian

Crawford Killian is a writer-editor for The Tyee. Previously, he was a professor at VCC and Capilano University and the public education columnist for the Vancouver Province. He has published extensively on a wide range of topics, including education, science, the environment, and politics.

IPE/BC Commons

Education for Social Justice and Sustainability

Ten Schools the VSB Should Aim to Rename 

“Over the past five years, individuals and community groups have placed increasing pressure on the Vancouver School Board to rename schools named after individuals whose historical legacies do not reflect the values of the school communities they’re located in. This article traces the history of Vancouver school naming practices over time and identifies ten schools that the Vancouver School Board and school communities should consider renaming to better reflect the communities’ values and histories.” Dr. Lindsay Gibson

Dr. Lindsay Gibson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. He taught secondary school social studies and history in Kelowna Public Schools for twelve years and was on the writing team for the K-12 social studies curriculum in BC and Alberta. His research focuses on historical thinking and history teacher education.

The Case for Commemoration Controversies in Canadian History Education. 

In this article Lindsay Gibson argues that commemoration controversies should be an essential part of teaching and learning history in Canadian K–12 schools.

“Commemoration controversies have the potential to be meaningful and relevant for students, they address civic education competencies central to history and social studies curricula, and they provide rich opportunities for advancing students’ historical consciousness and historical thinking.”

Gibson also addresses the issue of commemoration controversies in classrooms in his article in The Conversation.

Dismantling Spherical Cows: Advancing Social Justice in STEM Education

“This paper explores the divide between a presumed value-laden Social Justice education and a presumed value-free STEM education. By examining the colonial legacies of STEM, as well as the Great White Men of STEM, the authors problematize these constructs and commonplace responses to them. The paper concludes by offering some specific recommendations for how a contextualizing, critical pedagogy might occur in the social justice oriented STEM classroom.”  Dr. Öslem Sensoy

Dr. Öslem Sensoy is a professor on the Faculty of Education at SFU and Associate Director for the Center for Law, Education and Society at SFU.   Her research interests include social justice education, anti-oppression and anti-racism education, and critical media literacy. She holds a PhD in Multicultural Education and a MA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization.

Connecting with Nature: Learning to be Part of the Dance

Shaila Shams writes about the work of Dr. Sean Blenkinsop and Dr. Mark Kettes in SFU’s Faculty Research Spotlight Series.

“Learning about the Indigenous epistemology driven place-based education was an eye opener for me. The incredible work of the researchers helped me evaluate the dominant ideologies of education and their impact on our practices in a new light.  What resonated with me the most was the philosophy  of decolonizing education from an anthropocentric view and reconceptualizing education in a more holistic, inclusive way to teach us to live  in harmony with nature. Working on this write-up during COVID-19 pandemic was a blessing in disguise as it motivated me to learn more about nature, the interdependence of lives and beings , and pushed me to question the current educational system that promotes human-centric activities and practices and their impacts.” Shalia Shams

Shaila Shams is a PhD candidate in Language, Cultures and Literacies program at SFU.   She has a Masters degree in Applied LIngusitics and an undergraduate degree in English Literature, and experience lecturing in the Bangladeshi higher education sector.  Shaila’s research interests include language and identity, and her published work includes the study of imperialism and the role of online social networks in language teaching.

IPE/BC Commons

Welcome to the IPE/BC Commons, a space designed for sharing research, articles and other publications on key issues public education.  IPE/BC acknowledges that a range of views will be reflected here and is grateful to the contributors for sharing their perspectives and their work.

Education funding
Education policy and practice
Education for social justice and sustainability
Equity, access and inclusion
Indigenization in education
Leadership and governance
Public education and privatization
Technology and public education
The pandemic and public education

 

Please contact us if you would like to submit or recommend an item to add to the IPE/BC Commons.