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by Lynn Bosetti
Les défenseurs des écoles privées
affirment que celles-ci introduisent
dans le système un élément de
concurrence qui améliore la
performance du système
d’éducation. Ceux qui
s’opposent au principe du choix de
l’école par les parents et aux écoles
privées craignent que cette
formule ne perpétue l’inégalité et ne
crée un système à deux
niveaux dans lequel les enfants
désavantagés qui ne peuvent se
servir du marché de l’éducation à
leur propre avantage sont
exclus du jeu.
Researchers in the area of charter schools and school
choice have articulated three different and often com-
peting views of educational goals that shape and distort
policy proposals. Labaree discusses them in terms of
democratic equality (citizenship and the common
good), social efficiency (human capital, education for a
competitive market place), and social mobility (indi-
vidual opportunity).1Similarly, Wells defines these
goals as education for the common good; education for
individual growth and fulfillment; education for a bet-
ter and more competitive work force and stronger econ-
omy; and adds a fourth goal, education for profit.2
While it is impossible for public education to accom-
modate all of the competing goals at one time in a coher-
ent and efficient manner, the dissonance is loudest
when one goal is privileged over the others.
In the current round of educational reform, policy
debates have been dominated by those who espouse the
economic goals of education, and see public education
as a vehicle to enhance Canada’s prosperity and ability
to compete in a global marketplace. For example, the
Federal Government’s vision of prosperity is based on
creating a learning culture where the goals of “self-
reliance, a respect for learning and the full development
of each individual” are central.3Their strategy for
achieving this vision is to improve the quality and rele-
vance of education and training by providing stronger
ties with the community and the working world, and to
focus on educational results (defined in terms of indi-
vidual competence) and accountability through perfor-
mance indicators.4At a 1996 summit of education min-
isters convened by the Organization of Economic
Cooperation and Development, they urged govern-
ments to “establish an environment that encourages
individuals to take greater responsibility for their own
and their children’s learning and, where appropriate,
permit choice as to where they acquire the learning they
need.” The Corporate-Higher Learning Forum also rec-
ommended that schools be encouraged to “define their
mission, to select the methods of attaining it, and to
assume responsibility for results.”5They argue that
“clients should be able to choose the institution that
best satisfies their need and aspirations. This implies
real differences among institutions and honest infor-
mation about their services.”
Based on these perspectives, education is positioned
as a commodity in the marketplace, and educational
reformers supporting these views advocate school
choice plans based on competition, test scores and
funding. Government would permit educational dollars
to follow students to the school of their choice, and
schools would be forced to compete for students, and if
they were unable to attract enough clients they would
be out of business. Standardized achievement tests and
School Achievement Indicators (SAIP) would provide
parents and students with information to evaluate
schools on the ranking of the school within a competi-
tive market, and to select a school that will meet the stu-
dent’s individual needs and desires.
What underwrites this debate over the goals of pub-
lic education in a liberal democratic society are the ten-
sions between majority rules and individual rights;
between public and private interests, and between polit-
ical equality and social inequality. The questions of
“Who will control the socialization of children” and
“What ought to be the proper role of government in
determining the forms of education and the schools
children will attend?” guide policy decisions. These ten-
sions are played out in the debate over school choice
and the application of market principles to educational
provisions. It is within this context that we now exam-
ine the role of charter schools in educational reform.
Education Reform
The promise of charter schools
Some proponents of school choice argue that char-
ter schools hold the potential to revitalize public edu-
cation by “challenging the exclusive franchise of the
regular public school system and stimulating changes
to schools across the is aimed at systemic
reform.”6Gaskell states that “much of the enthusiasm
for choice is rooted in frustration with the inequality
and rigidity of public schooling.”7Buechler views char-
ter schools as a way to “inject market forces...into what
many perceive as an over-regulated, over-centralized
public education monopoly with strong allegiance to
the status quo and no institutional incentive to improve
student performance.”8The promise of charter schools
is to shift responsibility to parents to select schools that
reflect their own value preferences and meet the learn-
ing needs of their children. The belief is that parents,
when given a choice, will withdraw their children from
poorly performing schools or schools that are unre-
sponsive to their needs, thereby generating pressure for
higher performance and responsiveness in all schools.
Research demonstrates that strong parental support is
a key element in a high-quality, successful school.
Gaskell reports that when parents actively seek a school
for its approach to learning, those eirat students have
increased opportunities for success.9
Alberta charter schools are autonomous public
schools organized by like-minded parents and educa-
tors to provide choices in the educational philosophy or
mission of schools, in the delivery of education, and in
the governance and organization of schools. They are
granted flexibility and considerable autonomy to imple-
ment these innovative or enhanced educational services
to improve student learning in some measurable way
and broaden the range of educational opportunities.
Each school must provide the basic provincially man-
dated school curriculum, and students must write all
Provincial Achievement Tests and Diploma Examina-
tions. Charter schools operate on a performance con-
tract (their charter) granted by the local school board,
or by the Minister of Education. Like private schools,
they can hire certified teachers who are not members
of the Provincial Teachers’ Association. They directly
manage their own funding allocations and are eligible
for the same per-pupil grants as the public schools.
Unlike private schools they are non-denominational,
cannot charge tuition fees, be for-profit or discriminate
in student admission.10
Advocates of charter schools argue that charter
schools receive autonomy and flexibility in the gover-
nance of their schools in exchange for high levels of
accountability in meeting their mandate (doing what
they say they are going to do), for parental satisfaction
(parents vote with their feet), and for enhanced student
learning (meaning improved acquisition, in some mea-
surable way, of skills, attitudes and knowledge). Char-
ter schools are expected to submit an annual audited
financial statement to the Minister of Education, and
are publicly accountable for student achievement in
their schools. They are granted three-to five-year con-
tracts in which to demonstrate their charter mandate.
At the time of renewal, an external evaluation is con-
ducted to determine whether the charter school has
complied with the legal and financial requirements, if
they have fulfilled their charter objectives, and whether
they can demonstrate parental and community sup-
port. Based on this assessment they may or may not be
recommended for the renewal of their charter.11
The dark side of charter schools
Critics of school choice and charter schools reject
economic goals of education and market-based school
reform in favour of education for participative democ-
racy, equality of educational opportunity, and the
encouragement of social and community values.12 They
view charter schools as perpetuating inequity and cre-
ating a two-tiered educational system where disadvan-
taged children who are not in the position to play the
educational market to their advantage are shut out of
the game.13 It is assumed that parents are highly ration-
al actors who make decisions from clear preferences,
that they are able to effectively demand action from
local schools and teachers14 and that they can be relied
upon to pursue the best interests of their children.
School choice requires parents and students to have the
ability to make judgments regarding the value and the
quality of learning and teaching that takes place in var-
ious schools, and to have the cultural capital to “engage
effectively with the market.”15 Real choice also means
that when parents decide to remove their children from
one school, they will then be able to get their children
into the school they prefer.16
Gerwitz, Ball, Bowe and Buckingham found clear
class and cultural differences in their research into how
parents interact with school-choice processes.17 They
described middle-class parents as “privileged/skilled
choosers” who engaged in a process of “child-match-
ing” in which they looked for schools that addressed the
needs, values and aspirations of their children. These
parents had the economic, social and cultural capital to
approach educators, make their case and be remem-
bered.18 Working-class parents were characterized as
“semi-skilled choosers” who had strong inclinations to
choose but the wrong cultural capital to exercise their
choice effectively. These parents were more likely to
rely on rumours regarding reputations of schools, and
to select schools based on proximity to their homes.19
Giroux expresses the concern that market-based
reform efforts that focus on educational outcomes, test
scores and choice shift the gaze away from addressing
the importance of schooling for the improvement of
public life.20 He views school choice and its appeal to
those who value competitiveness, individualism and
achievement as undermining the responsibility of pub-
lic service, rupturing the relationship between schools
and the community, and diverting from the responsi-
bility of improving education for all students in all
La réforme du système d’éducation
Goldring and Smrekar view school choice as a means
to build community.22 Schools that have a strong mis-
sion can attract students and parents who share simi-
lar values and goals of education, creating a sense of
solidarity, membership and mutual support. However,
critics of choice warn that these “value communities”
may well become “little fiefdoms catering to the inter-
ests of their own social, ethnic or cultural group, with-
out concern for the larger social good,” and thus con-
tribute to the social fragmentation of society.23
Another central concern voiced by opponents to
charter schools is in regard to the market-led con-
sumerist approaches that create a system where there
are losers, as well as winners. They question what hap-
pens to those children whose only education is at sub-
standard schools that take years to be rendered eco-
nomically unviable and shut down;24 or those children
who have their education disrupted by a charter school
that may be failing due to mismanagement of funds or
the inability to secure a long-term lease for the school
facility. In such cases taxpayers who provide funding
for charter schools, as well as children who attend them,
are the losers. They conclude that education is a public
good, and its objective should be to raise the achieve-
ment for all students. Public education needs to project
“a vision of society as involving interdependent rela-
tionships, and should be seeing education as the trans-
mission of human culture, rather than as a production-
line for entrepreneurs.”25
The Alberta charter school experience
In 1994 the government of Alberta passed legislation
for the establishment of charter schools. The govern-
ment introduced charter schools as an “addition to the
public education system” and as sites of innovation that
would “complement the educational services provided
by the local public system” and provide the “opportu-
nity for successful educational practices to be recog-
nized and adopted by other public schools for the ben-
efit of more students.” When we situate the charter
school initiative within the broader Alberta government
educational reform agenda, it is apparent that the char-
ter school concept serves as another vehicle to advance
the goals of accountability, efficiency and performance,
and to empower parents and other members of the
community to have a more direct involvement at the
school level. Along with charter school legislation, the
government has increased funding to private schools,
reduced the overall funding to education by 12 percent,
instituted provincial standardized testing programs for
grades 3, 6 and 9, reintroduced grade 12 diploma exam-
inations, promoted site-based management as the pre-
ferred model of school management, required school
councils, and reduced the number of school boards
from 141 to 68.26 The desired outcome is a public edu-
cation system that is goal-oriented, service-oriented,
and responsive to market forces.27
To date 12 charter schools have been approved. Their
charters focus on three different philosophic approaches
to teaching and learning: traditional back-to-the basics
approaches to teaching; student centred, progressive
individualized learning programs; and an inter-agency
approach to addressing the educational needs of “at-
risk” students.
Three of the charter schools offer a traditional edu-
cational program that emphasizes teacher-directed
learning, highly structured learning environments,
strict disciplinary policies and a demand for high com-
mitment from parents for involvement in their chil-
dren’s learning. In contrast, another three charter
schools offer a more student-centred approach to teach-
ing and learning. They provide differentiated instruc-
tion to meet the diverse learning styles and multiple
intelligences of students. These schools cater to self-
directed or motivated learners and students who are
identified as being gifted.
One school caters to the needs of “street involved”
youth who for a variety of reasons have dropped out, or
have been shut out of the public education system. The
educational program is designed to provide a safe envi-
ronment for “street youth” to acquire a basic education
that is focussed on life skills and job readiness. Another
school situated in the inner city caters to students from
a variety of minority groups, many of whom are recent
immigrants who require special assistance with Eng-
lish as a Second Language (ESL). Over 60 percent of the
students belong to Arab and Muslim communities. Two
schools cater to needs of students who are gifted, one
school is based on the Suzuki method of teaching which
sees children learn first by listening, then by imitating
superior examples, with each task mastered in small
steps. The last school to receive charter status offers a
program for students in grades four to six that empha-
sizes science and technology. The school is not yet oper-
ating due to the inability to secure adequate facilities.28
The majority of these charter schools cater to mid-
dle-income families who claim that their children are
not being well served by the public education system.
In some cases it is because their children were not meet-
ing success in their previous public school, or because
they required a more challenging program. Many par-
ents selected charter schools because they preferred a
more structured/supervised learning environment.
Marketing of most charter schools is limited to pub-
lic information meetings advertised in local newspa-
pers and through word-of-mouth. Consequently, most
parents who are attracted to charter schools are
informed parents who are aware of the choices avail-
able within public education, or who have personal con-
nections with the board, teachers on staff or other par-
ents who have children attending the school.29
While the charter school movement occupies a mar-
ginal role in the public education system in Alberta, it
has provoked those who govern and administer public
schools to provide more programs of choice for stu-
dents and parents. One large urban public school board
accommodated a number of charter school applica-
tions as alternative programs within existing schools.
Education Reform
Another school board has recently developed additional
programs for students who are gifted, increased ser-
vices for ESL students, established a junior high school
for the fine and performing arts, and a bilingual Man-
darin-English school.
Since the passing of charter school legislation there
has also been an increase in private schools in Alberta.
Traditionally, low-cost Christian schools have charac-
terized the major thrust of the private school movement
in the province. However, there has recently been an
increase in the establishment of more elite private
schools that cater to parents and students interested in
academic excellence, preparation for university and
more traditional approaches to teaching. In the Calgary
area there are two over-subscribed private schools that
address the needs of children with learning disabilities,
and over 40 private schools.
Recent reforms in Alberta Education have been
instrumental in creating an awareness among parents
that schools need to be more responsive to their needs
and values, that their choices are limited, and that pub-
lic education cannot be all things to all people. There is
also clear evidence that the current government’s edu-
cational reform agenda privileges the economic goals
of education, serves the self-interest of students and
parents, and favors meeting the needs of the labour
market over the goals of creating a more equal and just
society, and educating citizens to participate in demo-
cratic life.
There is a seduction in reasoning that charter
schools, positioned as a school of choice within the pub-
lic education system, can contribute to the logic of a
public education that seeks to meet the needs of a
diverse population, and which honours the principles
of universal access, equality of opportunity and diver-
sity. At first glance, charter schools fit these criteria.
Charter schools cannot charge tuition fees, they must
follow the Alberta mandated curriculum and cannot
discriminate on admission of students. However, char-
ter school legislation is designed to render them niche
schools that appeal to homogeneous-value communi-
ties. The lack of start-up monies, capital grants and
technical support, make them dependent on voluntary
support from parents for the day-to-day operation of
the school, and limits their accessibility to all students.
The time, energy and commitment required to estab-
lish a charter school appeals to those who have a mis-
sionary zeal.30 The majority of charter schools in Alberta
have been established by parents dissatisfied with the
public education system, rather than by educators with
a vision, or organized groups working on behalf of those
who are disadvantaged.
Finally, the issues and tensions that surrounds the
debates over school choice and charter schools have
been simplified to focus on parental rights and the role
of the free market in public education rather than on
the more critical policy issues of “what we want our
educational system to be,” how we can best balance the
needs of individuals with the needs of society and “what
role different school-choice plans can play in achieving
these goals.”31 Grace concludes that it seems improba-
ble “that market culture which in its operation puts
market before community; which necessarily maxi-
mizes strategies for individual profit and advantage;
which conceptualizes the world in terms of consumers
rather than citizens and which marginalizes issues to
do with morality and ethics, will be the appropriate cul-
ture in which education as a public good can most effec-
tively be provided.”32 What is clear is that school choice
and charter schools are not a substitute for “aggressive
political effort to target opportunities and resources
toward meeting the needs of those students who have
the least”;33 nor are they a substitute for creating a more
equal and just society.
1. D. Labaree, “Public Goods, Private Goods: The Ameri-
can Struggle over Educational Goals,” American Educational
Research Journal, Vol. 34, no. 1 (1997), pp. 39-81.
2. A. Stuart. Wells, A Time to Choose: America at the Cross-
roads of School Choice Policy (New York: Hill and Want, 1993).
3. Economic Council of Canada, A Lot to Learn: Education
and Training in Canada (Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada,
1992), p. 2
4. Economic Council of Canada, A Lot to Learn, pp. 35-36.
5. Corporate-Higher Learning Forum, To Be Our Best:
Learning For The Future (Montreal: Corporate-Higher Learn-
ing Forum, 1990).
6. H. Raham, “Revitalizing Public Education in Canada:
The Potential of Choice and Charter Schools,” Fraser Forum
(Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1996).
7. J. Gaskell, Secondary Schools in Canada (Ottawa: Cana-
dian Education Association, 1995).
8. M. Buechler, Charter Schools: Legislation and Results
After Four Years (Bloomington, IN: Indiana Education Policy
Centre, 1995).
9. Gaskell, Charter Schools in Canada.
10. Alberta Education, Charter School Handbook (Edmon-
ton: Alberta Education, 1996), p. 3.
11. Alberta Education, Charter School Handbook.
12. G. Grace, “Education is a Public Good: On the Need to
Resist the Domination of Economic Science,” in D. Bridges
and T. McLauglin (eds.), Education and the Marketplace (Lon-
don: Falmer Press, 1994), p. 132.
13. A. Molnar, Giving Kids the Business: The Commercial-
ization of America’s Schools (Colorodo: Westview Press, 1996),
p. 167.
14. B. Fuller, R. Elmore and G. Orfield, “Policy-Making in
the Dark: Illuminating the School Choice Debate,” in B. Fuller
and R. Elmore (eds.), Who chooses? Who loses? (New York:
Teachers College Press, 1996), p. 2.
15. S. Gerwitz, S. Ball, R. Bowe and R. Buckingham, Mar-
kets, Choice and Equity in Education (UK: Open University,
16. Molnar, Giving Kids the Business.
La réforme du système d’éducation
17. Gerwitz et al., Markets, Choice and Equity in Education.
18. A. Stuart Wells, Review of S. Gerwitz, S. Ball, R. Bowe
and R. Buckingham, Markets, Choice and Equity in Education,
in Educational Administrative Quarterly, Vol. 33, no. 2 (1997),
pp. 247-51, 248.
19. Wells, Review of Gerwitz et al., Markets, Choice and
Equity in Education.
20. H. Giroux, “Educational Leadership and The Crisis of
Democratic Government,” Educational Researcher, Vol. 21,
no. 4 (1992), pp. 4-11, 4.
21. Giroux, “Educational Leadership,” p. 6.
22. E. Goldring and C. Smrekar, “Community or
Anonymity? Patterns of Parental Involvement and Family-
School Interactions in Magnet Schools,” Paper presented at
Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Asso-
ciation, Chicago (1997).
23. Fuller et al., “Policy-Making in the Dark,” p. 1.
24. P. Downes, “Managing the Market,” in D. Bridges and
T. McLauglin (eds.), Education and the Marketplace (London:
Falmer Press, 1994).
25. Downes, Managing the Market,” p. 55.
26. B. Bruce and A. Schwartz, “Education: Meeting the
Challenge,” in C. Bruce, R. Kneebone and K. Mckenzie (eds.),
A Government Reinvented: A Study of Alberta’s Deficit Elimi-
nation Program (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1997).
27. L. Bosetti, R. O’Reilly and D. Gereluk, “Public Choice
and Public Education: The Impact of Alberta Charter
Schools,” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Amer-
ican Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA (1998)
p. 2.
28. Bosetti et al., “Public Choice and Public Education”; L.
Bosetti, “Charter Schools in Alberta,” Paper presented at
Charting a New Course Conference, Richmond, BC (1995).
29. Bosetti et al., “Public Choice and Public Education.”
30. Bosetti et al., “Public Choice and Public Education.”
31. Wells, A Time to Choose, p. viii.
32. Cited in D. Bridges and T. McLauglin (eds.), Education
and the Marketplace (London: Falmer Press, 1994), p. 132.
33. Wells, Review of Gerwitz et al., Markets, Choice and
Equity in Education, p. 247.
by Don Tapscott
L’informatique va transformer
radicalement les rôles respectifs du
professeur et des étudiants dans le
processus d’apprentissage. Le
nouveau modèle est interactif, centré
sur l’étudiant et personnalisé. Son
application suppose l’abandon de la
pédagogie conventionnelle en faveur
de la création de partenariats et de
«cultures » axés sur l’apprentissage.
Les universités qui ne s’adaptent pas
à ce nouveau modèle sont appelées à
Earlier this year, on CBC national radio, I debated
the Dean of Education of one of Canada’s most presti-
gious universities who defended the position that “com-
puters have no role in the schools.”
I argued that the evidence is clear that while tech-
nology is not the solution to what ails the education sys-
tem, it is a critical element. The computer is changing
from a tool for automation to a new communications
medium. Effectively integrated into the education sys-
tem, it can permit us to change the role of the teacher
and student in the learning process and, in so doing,
transform education to make it more effective and rel-
evant in a knowledge economy.
There is, of course, some irony in this debate. The
university educators and the universities themselves
risk being made irrelevant by the same forces that are
causing the schools to change.
“Thirty years from now big university campuses will
be relics.” Peter Drucker shocked more than a few uni-
versity executives and educators in the March 10, 1997
issue of Forbes magazine when he described the end of
the university as we know it. (“This) is as large a change
as when we first got the printed book. It took more than
200 years for the printed book to create the modern
school. It won’t nearly take that long for the big change
Education Reform
Lynn Bosetti is an associate
professor of educational policy and
director of the Centre for Gifted
Education at the University of Cal-
... In some cases, parents believed this was because their children were marginalized because they were gifted, had a learning challenge, or were immigrants with poor language capability. In other cases, they chose charter schools because their child was not meeting with success in their designated neighbourhood school, or they needed a more challenging program, individualized instruction, or a more structured learning environment (Bosetti, 1998). In all cases, parents choosing charter schools report high levels of satisfaction with their school of choice (Alberta Education, 2011b, 2011c. ...
... A comprehensive study of Alberta charter schools (Bosetti, 1998; included a survey and focus group interviews with parents in nine charter schools to determine their reason for choosing a particular charter school, their expectations, and their level of satisfaction with the charter school. Parents reported that charter schools offered them the opportunity to have a direct voice in their children's education through choice, the creation of the school charter, and membership on the governing board. ...
... For these families, the charter school was a safe place, the school calendar accommodated their religious celebrations, and the discipline policies reflected their family values . Parents in other charter schools also reported that their school offered a strong sense of community, support for children, and improved social connections (Bosetti, 1998. ...
... Once apprised of all the necessary information, parents will then need to decide which establishment they feel will best satisfy the needs and aspirations of their children (Bosetti, 1998). As noted in Section 3.4, LEAs must arrange for parents to be able to express a preference for a place for their child in any school, a preference with which admission authorities have a duty to comply, except in specific circumstances. ...
... Research has shown that the element of parental choice is fraught with difficulties, especially for the socially and culturally disadvantaged Armstrong, 1995;Bosetti, 1998;Whitty et al., 1998). In their three-year study of market forces in education, Gewirtz et al. (1995) to be a mixed class group who had the inclination but were limited in terms of their 'capacity to engage "effectively" with the market' (Gewirtz et al., 1995, p. 40). ...
... Given the earlier discussion on parental choice, where critics have argued that the element of market forces in education advantages those parents with higher levels of economic, social and cultural capital Armstrong, 1995;Whitty et al., 1998;Bosetti, 1998), it could logically be suggested that the same parents would be the most likely to pursue, and be successful in, the appeals process (Taylor et al., 2002). A recent article in the TES noted that many parents withdraw because they feel too intimidated or lack the resources to continue and reported that most parents who do continue end up spending approximately £5,000 (Gold, 2003, p. 18). ...
... School choice requires parents to make judgments regarding quality teaching and learning, and to acquire the cultural capital to engage effectively with the market. Real choice also means that when parents decide to remove their children from one school, they will then be able to get their children into a school they prefer (Bosetti, 1998a). These are some of the key issues in debates over charter schools and parental choice. ...
... Legislative and regulatory disadvantages facing charter schools have helped keep the movement small, and while existing schools effectively address the needs of the groups they serve, they are having little impact on the larger educational community. The lack of technical, financial, and moral support from government and school boards has required charter school pioneers to be very committed in their quest to overcome what at times seems like insurmountable obstacles (Bosetti, 1998a). In many cases, these challenges have resulted in a strong sense of community and purpose. ...
... School choice requires parents to make judgments regarding quality teaching and learning, and to acquire the cultural capital to engage effectively with the market. Real choice also means that when parents decide to remove their children from one school, they will then be able to get their children into a school they prefer (Bosetti, 1998a). These are some of the key issues in debates over charter schools and parental choice. ...
... Legislative and regulatory disadvantages facing charter schools have helped keep the movement small, and while existing schools effectively address the needs of the groups they serve, they are having little impact on the larger educational community. The lack of technical, financial, and moral support from government and school boards has required charter school pioneers to be very committed in their quest to overcome what at times seems like insurmountable obstacles (Bosetti, 1998a). In many cases, these challenges have resulted in a strong sense of community and purpose. ...
... I brought issues that I was working through to the monthly research meetings in addition to the weekly conversations with faculty who were also intrigued by the Alberta charter school phenomenon. With the Alberta Charter School Study Research Team, I began to present initial findings at conferences, in publications, and symposia that were arising from the interviews (Bosetti, 1998a(Bosetti, , 1998bBosetti, O'Reilly, Sande, Gereluk, 1998;. ...
Full-text available
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Calgary, 1998. Includes bibliographical references (l. 127-151).
... D'après ces auteurs, ce sont les parents de la classe moyenne les mieux « armés » en termes de choix d'écoles notamment car ils arrivent à concilier les aspirations, les besoins et les valeurs de leurs enfants à une école de leur choix. Les parents de la classe ouvrière, quant à eux, ne disposent pas du capital culturel nécessaire pour exercer judicieusement leur liberté de choix d'école, notamment car la sélection s'effectue sur la base de critères tels que la réputation de l'école et la distance de celle-ci par rapport à la résidence familiale (Bosetti, 1998 Cependant, certains reproches, basés sur une observation du système éducatif de la Communauté française de Belgique, peuvent être formulés à l'encontre de ce mode de fonctionnement : ...
Full-text available
Le rapport intitulé "Etude exploratoire sur la mise en oeuvre de nouvelles mesures visant à lutter contre les phénomènes de ségrégation scolaire et d'inéquité au sein du système éducatif de la Communauté française de Belgique" a été rédigé à la demande de la Ministre en charge de l'enseignement et remis en mars 2007 par les services des Professeurs Christian MONSEUR (Université de Liège) et Marc DEMEUSE (Université de Mons-Hainaut).
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According to the market hypothesis, market forces encourage schooling organizations to strategically outsmart their competition in ways that improve the quality of teaching and learning. Based on eighty interviews with private education owners or managers in Toronto, Ontario, we find little evidence that entrepreneurs respond to competition in the way that the theory predicts. Market competition does not inform how entrepreneurs understand their role in the wider education sector or how they make sense of their actions. Instead, entrepreneurs tie their program, hiring, and customer service decisions to an ideological commitment to students, defining themselves as educators. Our data suggest that this perception guides their actions more than market forces. This paper opens the black box of private education organizations, and offers a nuanced addition to mounting research that challenges the connection between market competition and school performance. © Canadian Journal of Sociology/Cahiers canadiens de sociologie 36(2) 2011.
Under a long-standing Progressive Conservative government the province of Alberta, Canada in 1994 became the first and only province in the country to introduce charter schools into its public system. What was cautiously introduced as an innovation and best practice pilot program has become a well sought-after alternative for parents of the public school system. This research is based on a review of the available literature and previous research on Alberta Charter schools and includes a survey of current school documents, websites and government documents pertaining to charter school regulation and governance. Part I of this analysis presents Alberta's Charter School movement's design using the analytic framework of finance, regulation and information. Part II will apply these design elements to four criteria for evaluating privatization systems: choice, productive efficiency, equity and social cohesion. Part III looks at some of the political and regulatory constraints facing the charter school movement. Taking into account the three design dimensions and four criteria of charter school evaluation, the result for Alberta in practice is a system that ultimately prioritizes social cohesion over choice and productive efficiency over equity. With a mere 14 charters in operation as of January 2008, Alberta's charter school system has a bark that is much bigger than its bite. The threat of charter schools has stimulated competitive response from neighboring local school districts in the form of new programs of choice for parents of public schools. It is clear that the idea of choice is very important to Albertans, yet the politics driving the movement's expansion, renewal and regulatory environment appear to be rooted in the greater philosophy of social service delivery that embodies Canadian socio-political ideology: an ideology of continued public delivery and control of education.
Incl. bibl., abstract. Changes in assessment policy have increased standardized testing at provincial, national, and international levels, introduced testing at more grade levels, increased the reporting of test results, and attached more significance to those results. Advocates claim that testing will result in greater accountability in education. The research demonstrates that standardized testing has a negative impact on students, perpetuating and intensifying educational inequity through test bias and the misuse of test scores. Test results are increasingly being used to analyse policy, program, school, and teacher success, and they are being inappropriately used as "educational gatekeepers" to make important decisions about students, teachers, schools, and school systems. This paper focuses on how standardized testing is becoming the mechanism that facilitates many questionable education practices that contribute to educational inequity.
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This article explores three alternative goals for American education that have been at the root of educational conflicts over the years: democratic equality (schools should focus on preparing citizens), social efficiency (they should focus on training workers), and social mobility (they should prepare individuals to compete for social positions). These goals represent, respectively, the educational perspective of the citizen, the taxpayer, and the consumer. Whereas the first two look on education as a public good, the third sees it as a private good. Historical conflict over these competing visions of education has resulted in a contradictory structure for the educational system that has sharply impaired its effectiveness. More important still has been the growing domination of the social mobility goal, which has reshaped education into a commodity for the purposes of status attainment and has elevated the pursuit of credentials over the acquisition of knowledge.
This article is organized around three major assumptions. First, it argues that the current crisis of American schooling is symptomatic of a broader crisis in the meaning and practice of American democracy. Second, it contends that the dominant approaches to educational reform, particularly America 2000, appear to be at odds with educating students to be informed, critical citizens capable of actively participating in shaping and governing a democratic society. Third, it calls for educators to refashion educational leadership through a language of critique and possibility that expands and deepens the possibility for cultural and political democracy. In short, the article suggests that educational reformers need to expand the purpose and promise of schooling beyond the narrow interests of the marketplace, view multicultural education as central to living in a democratic society, refuse to equate nationalism with monoculturalism, and substitute the language of community, solidarity, and public responsibility for the current emphasis on choice and individual competitiveness.
As of September 1995, a total of 19 states had passed charter school legislation and 226 charter schools were operating. This document presents an overview of state legislation and describes the status of charter schools in operation in the United States. Chapter 1 provides background information on charter schools--a discussion of trends leading to the charter school movement, a definition of charter schools, and arguments for and against the reform. Chapter 2 analyzes charter school laws in all 19 states, with a focus on elements of the laws that make development of charter schools more or less likely, amendments to charter school laws over the years, and trends in 1995 legislation. The progress and demise of charter school legislation in Indiana during the 1995 session of the General Assembly are examined in the third chapter. Chapter 4 summarizes and analyzes the existing research on approved and operating charter schools around the country, including information on school type and size, student population, educational approaches, barriers to formation, parent involvement, effect on the public school system as a whole, and student achievement. Recommendations for policymakers are offered in chapter 5. Findings indicate that charter schools serve a student population comparable to the overall public school population in terms of race and socioeconomic status. They offer a variety of educational innovations. The two main barriers to implementation are lack of capital funds and lack of legal/business expertise. Any link between charter school organization and student achievement has yet to be documented. Five tables are included. The appendix contains a list of contact people and organizations. (Contains 29 references.) (LMI)
This book examines various school choice alternatives and the educational philosophies underlying them, as well as providing an overview of the history of alternative education programs in the United States. An attempt is made to dispel the notion that all school choice plans are created equal and to show that, depending on the goals, some plans are better than others. Chapters discuss the original school choice movement, school desegregation by choice, statewide school choice plans for the 1990s, tuition voucher plans and equity issues, and the constitutional issues surrounding voucher plans and the separation of church and state. (Contains 462 endnotes.) (GLR)
Markets, Choice and Equity in Education
  • A Stuart Wells
  • S Gerwitz
  • R Ball
  • R Bowe
  • Buckingham
A. Stuart Wells, Review of S. Gerwitz, S. Ball, R. Bowe and R. Buckingham, Markets, Choice and Equity in Education, in Educational Administrative Quarterly, Vol. 33, no. 2 (1997), pp. 247-51, 248.
Policy-Making in the Dark: Illuminating the School Choice Debate Who chooses? Who loses?
  • B Fuller
  • R Elmore
  • G S Orfield
  • S Gerwitz
  • R Ball
  • R Bowe
  • Buckingham
B. Fuller, R. Elmore and G. Orfield, " Policy-Making in the Dark: Illuminating the School Choice Debate, " in B. Fuller and R. Elmore (eds.), Who chooses? Who loses? (New York: Teachers College Press, 1996), p. 2. 15. S. Gerwitz, S. Ball, R. Bowe and R. Buckingham, Markets, Choice and Equity in Education (UK: Open University, 1995).
Revitalizing Public Education in Canada: The Potential of Choice and Charter Schools
  • H Raham
H. Raham, "Revitalizing Public Education in Canada: The Potential of Choice and Charter Schools," Fraser Forum (Vancouver: The Fraser Institute, 1996).
Public Choice and Public Education: The Impact of Alberta Charter Schools
  • L Bosetti
  • R O'reilly
  • D Gereluk
  • Bosetti
L. Bosetti, R. O'Reilly and D. Gereluk, "Public Choice and Public Education: The Impact of Alberta Charter Schools," Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA (1998) p. 2. 28. Bosetti et al., "Public Choice and Public Education"; L.
Policy-Making in the Dark
  • Fuller
Fuller et al., "Policy-Making in the Dark," p. 1. 24. P. Downes, "Managing the Market," in D. Bridges and T. McLauglin (eds.), Education and the Marketplace (London: Falmer Press, 1994).
Managing the Market Education: Meeting the Challenge A Government Reinvented: A Study of Alberta's Deficit Elimination Program
  • Downes
Downes, " Managing the Market, " p. 55. 26. B. Bruce and A. Schwartz, " Education: Meeting the Challenge, " in C. Bruce, R. Kneebone and K. Mckenzie (eds.), A Government Reinvented: A Study of Alberta's Deficit Elimination Program (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1997).