Education Policies in Canada

Canadian public education systems can learn a great deal from education models in other jurisdictions


The purpose of this project was to inform public debate over education policy in Canada. To this end, the Fraser Institute undertook a series of research projects related to education performance and school choice in Canada. This research resulted in a number of studies focused on accountability in education. The series argues for the integration of market style competition in the Canadian academic landscape by encouraging school choice through the integration of independent schools and charter schools. Further, the series examines gender imbalances in education and advocates some deregulation of home schooling. One of the most significant outputs from the Fraser Institute is the School Report Cards series, which annually surveys how individual elementary and secondary schools perform on a variety of measures.

Grant Outputs

Can the Market Save Our Schools? –

This book examines the potential of market-based solutions in addressing the problems facing Canadian education. It identifies low student achievement levels, and a gulf in performance that separates public school success in low- and high- socioeconomic neighbourhoods. It first assesses the educational status quo in Canada and the United States, and then suggests how developing an educational market, where schools would be allowed to compete more freely for students, would produce better educational results for more students. The book proposes that publically funded charter schools would allow parents of all socioeconomic statuses to decide on the best education for their children. It concludes that the goals of the public education system would be more attainable if schools were encouraged to respond to the demands of parents, rather than provincial bureaucracies.

The Case for School Choice: Models from the United States, Denmark, New Zealand and Switzerland –

This report compared the Canadian education system with four other national case studies, including the United States, New Zealand, Denmark and Sweden. It finds that where educational choice has been fostered, significant improvements in public satisfaction and educational outcomes have been demonstrated. The paper argues that international evidence shows public or private vouchers to attend alternative schools or charter schools offer plausible answers to educational dilemmas.

The Benefits of Private University Vouchers (Michael Taube) – Fraser Forum (September 2000) –

This article argues that private university vouchers have the potential to provide a valuable service in Canada. Under the university voucher system, students would be able to use the funds provided to publically funded universities to access programs in private universities. The report suggests that greater choice in higher education would enable students from low income families to acquire the funds to consider a private university (or a community college) degree as part of their educational development. It also argues that university vouchers would promote enhanced school choice by decreasing the geographical restrictions students face, giving them the opportunity to attend a university either in their home town, or in another city or province.

School Report Cards – Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick (1999-2002) –

School Report Cards assess how well schools performed in academics over a number of years. By combining a variety of indicators of school performance into one public document, such as average exam grade, percentage of exams failed, gender gap in academic performance and graduation rate, the school report cards allow teachers, parents, school administrators, students, and taxpayers to analyze and compare the academic performance of individual schools.

Boys, Girls and Grades: Academic Gender Balance in British Columbia’s Schools –

This report addresses the debate over whether girls or boys are being under served by the education system in a systematic way. It notes there is no conclusive evidence in the existing literature that suggests boys and girls should achieve at different levels in any aspect of the academic program. The report highlights the commitment of the BC Teachers’ Federation to providing education that supports individual students, including consideration for gendered learning styles. The report argues that boys and girls should be equally able to achieve the same levels of academic success, and contrasts this with results showing girls earned higher grades on classroom assignments.

Homeschooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream –

This paper establishes that home schooling is a thriving educational movement both in Canada and the United States. It argues that the academic and socialization outcomes for the average home schooled child are superior to those experienced by the average public school student. The report favours less regulation of homeschooling, and suggests that although home schooling is neither desirable nor possible for all families, it has proven itself to be a relatively inexpensive and successful private alternative to public (and costly formal private) education.

School Choice: Dispelling the Myths and Examining the Evidence – Fraser Institute Conference –

In September 2000, the Fraser Institute hosted a conference to discuss the topic of developing an educational market where different kinds of schools would compete for students. The conference featured a number of scholars who presented research on an array of topics. It resulted in a number of papers that were compiled into a book (available on the Fraser Institute website), which was intended to inform public sphere debate.

Grant Details

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