Curriculum Reform in Ontario: 'Common-Sense' Policy by Laura Elizabeth Pinto

By Laura Elizabeth Pinto

This first complete account of curriculum coverage formula in Nineteen Nineties Ontario is helping readers comprehend the real-life reviews of policymakers either in the province and internationally.

Having labored as a coverage analyst for the govt of Ontario, a public university instructor, and a college professor, writer Laura Elizabeth Pinto is uniquely located to take on the most important problems with coverage formula: the politics and tensions between diversified coverage actors; the relationships among democracy in schooling and in coverage formation; and the hidden position of privatization.

Based on interviews with key coverage actors, together with ministry bureaucrats, curriculum coverage writers, stakeholder session individuals, and political staffers, Curriculum Reform in Ontario presents a critique of traditional coverage formula methods. Pinto additionally indicates probabilities for extra participatory ways to coverage formula that may higher aid the serious position performed through colleges in growing democratic societies.

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These emerge in response to critiques of 12 Curriculum Reform in Ontario liberal democracy such as those by Amy Gutmann, Dennis Thomson, and Benjamin Barber, and the recognition that liberal democracy fails to recognize the centrality of deliberation (Dryzek 2009). The term deliberative democracy describes a number of approaches to citizen participation whose goal is to engage citizens in all phases of policy formulation through deliberation. Tatsuo Inoue (2003) observes that it has become a ‘prevailing catchword,’ especially popular in the political science literature where it is accepted as a ‘normative theory that suggests ways in which we can enhance democracy and criticize institutions that do not live up to the normative standard’ (Chambers 2003, 308).

Unlike more traditional (and narrow) models of consultative meetings or referendums, PPA models require citizens’ commitment to working through problems in order to come to policy advice. PPA also emphasizes an educative objective of participation – citizens learn about a particular issue, about other individuals’ and groups’ perspectives, and cultivate their 18 Curriculum Reform in Ontario citizenship skills. Robert Dahl (1998), who advocates PPA, outlines five criteria for genuinely democratic policymaking across the literature: • Inclusion in which all citizens have full rights • Political equality so that when decisions are made, each citizen has an equal and effective opportunity to participate • Enlightened understanding so that, within reason, citizens have equal and effective opportunities to learn about relevant policy alternatives and their consequences • Control of the agenda so that citizens have the opportunity to decide which matters are placed on the public agenda and how • Effective participation so that before a policy is adopted, citizens have equal and effective opportunities to make their views known to other citizens While research and theory describing PPA (see, for example, Forester 1993; deLeon 1997; Schneider and Ingram 1997; Dahl 1998; Weeks 2000) emphasize the need for citizen involvement, they do not necessarily call for – nor result in – democratic processes aimed at social change, empowerment, enlightenment, and emancipation, which would be necessary to achieve the critical-democratic ideal.

The term common sense itself is associated with neoconservative and neoliberal rhetoric (Gandin 2002; Apple 2004; Fleury 2005). Some have drawn parallels to Thatcherism and Reaganism (see, for example, Keil 2002). More importantly, the framework laid out in the ‘Common Sense Revolution’ offers solutions that include lowered taxes, smaller government, and policies favouring business. The analysis that follow describes how this played out in a variety of issues. The Harris government’s use of ‘distinct ideological underpinnings’ (Locke 2006, 7) caused a great deal of tension (White 1997a; Locke 2006) The Politics of ‘Common Sense’ Policy Production 27 in the province.

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