Globalization, Neoliberalism and Schools: The Canadian Story
Pp. 62-84 (23)
Hans G. Schuetze, Larry Kuehn, Adam Davidson-Harden, Daniel Schugurensky and Nadya Weber
As the Canadian system of education is a collection of regional systems, rather than describing school policies and developments in each of Canada's ten provinces and three territories, the article concentrates on developments in the three largest provinces: Ontario, Quebec, which, by virtue of its history, culture and language, is somewhat distinct from the rest of Canada, and British Columbia,(together these three provinces represent more than three fourths of Canada's 33.8 million population). In all of these jurisdictions, governments have pushed neo-liberal agendas, for example by fostering private schools (‘increasing choice’), introducing a number of market mechanisms into the public school system, imposing standardized testing, enhancing competition between schools, and allowing private companies to advertise their products in schools. In the section on Ontario, a case study is provided how a neo-liberal government, under the flag of a ‘Common Sense Revolution’, has pushed its agenda and profoundly changed the school system in a matter of only eight years. The section on British Columbia looks at a larger period of 30 years and documents the results of a more gradual shift towards privatization. The section on Quebec shows how initially a strong Teachers Union has been able to resist and slow down intended changes but that the province has followed the other provinces when the Social Democrat government was defeated in the elections and the union became fragmented and therefore lost its influence.
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.