Monday, April 22, 2013

Chapter 7: Systems Analytic -- Systems Analytic and 20th century Canadian public education policy documents

Systems Analytic and 20th century Canadian public education policy documents
   This section considers the data against the central theme underpinning the "systems analytic" as outlined by Barrow -- "the state's contradictory involvement with capital accumulation as well as seeking state legitimacy through policies incompatible with capital accumulation."  
   Questions summarized by Held on Habermas’ theory are (p. 286): 1) Have events in the last one hundred years altered the mode in which this contradiction affects the dynamic of society? -- Public education policy commission reports might shed some light on this question --; 2) Has the logic of crisis changed (from the path of crisis growth, unstable accumulation, to something fundamentally different)? -- ; 3) Does the developmental dynamic of advanced capitalism ward off economic crises permanently? – Following the 1980s recession and then the 2008 market failure following post-80s deregulation, advanced capitalism maintained non-material infrastructure and reflexive labour located in systems such as public education would suggest that the answer may well be ‘no’--; and 4) If so, are there consequences for patterns of social struggle? – Perhaps the public education data will help to answer this final question.
   Looking at the integral involvement of public education with the “state” where education is “public,” and keeping with Habermas’ theory, public education contradicts capital accumulation. 
Held synthesizes the problem (citing Habermas in “Wirchlichkeit und Reflexion”):

The state cannot intervene substantially in the economic process ‘without setting off an “investment strike”; nor can it avoid, in the long run, cyclical disturbances of the accumulation process … nor can it even control crisis substitutes, that is, chronic deficits in the public budget and inflation’. (p. 288)

The logic of this is as follows. The economic process includes the law of surplus value a consequence of wage labour, and the basic dichotomy existing between the owners of the means of production and those who are not owners. Therefore, in terms of Marxist theory, public education is a product of the state and is incompatible with capital accumulation and should therefore show contradictions internally within public education policy itself (this can only be done with a range and quantity of documents) as well as show contradiction with state policies emitting from areas other than public education. Further, public education will be an area utilized by the state to mitigate the essential underlying contradiction, but the matter of class divisions should not be fully ameliorated. Also, the state, in utilizing public education to mediate the contradictions, should experience policy weaknesses or failures in public education policy that create rationalization or legitimation issues for it.
   Since public education mutes the fundamental feature of capitalism, the existence of social class division (by slowing the entry of workers into the labour market, through the creation of a middle class through employment via state administration and other levels of administration, by reproducing liberal ideology through its system etc.), it is of interest to take a long view, to investigate social class division in Canada during the 20th century and consider such class divisions against the public education productions of the 20th century (policies produced by the  provinces, territories and federal government). We can look across the documents for internal as well as internal/external policy contradictions. Further, we can also consider public education policy across the century in relation to the Habermasian theory of “advanced capitalism” and look for evidence in Canadian public education policy in terms of this theory and consider whether the “logic of crisis [has] changed” as a consequence of 100 years Canadian public education policy making. Considered against the theory then, Canadian public education policy is fundamentally meditating the “problem” of social classes and will also show evidence of contradictory involvement with capital accumulation. According to the theory, this will implicate the state in contradictory behaviour producing policy weakness and policy failure. 
   Also, considering the following chart,

Point of origin
System crisis
Identity crisis

Economic crisis

Rationality crisis
Legitimation crisis

Motivation crisis

there should be some evidence of rationality crisis in the Canadian political system as well as legitimation and motivation crisis in the Canadian socio-cultural system as a consequence of the state's involvement with education policy.
1980s/90s public education documents -- introduction
   In this section of the research, I examine the set of Canadian public education commission reports classified as late 20th century documents. These documents roughly correspond to the cessation of the Trudeau years in 1984 and cover what is essentially an important set of documents situated chronologically in the closest relation to 21st century considerations. This is obvious since the foundations to the 21st century may considered in total as a consequence of the product of the commission reports of the 20th  century, but in terms of early 21st century policy-making in public education, the documents produced in the latter years of the 20th century will be referred to by commissioners overseeing public education commissions in the first quarter (2000 to 2025). This set of documents at the time of writing is not a representative or complete group, but it is a set that will facilitate analysis. What has been collated for comparative purposes provides a starting point for some sort of overview of Canadian public education for the late 20th century documents (documents not collated by Goulson and documents not fully covered by Manzer in his Canadian treatment in 1994). As well there is now a sample set that may be considered in comparative against the research goal of acquiring an overall concept of Canadian public education policy development during the 20th century. The collation also provides some base for the intellectual opportunity sought for in this project -- a specialized policy data set against which the theory may be considered. The group of documents under review for the late 20th century documents is as follows: 

CanEdPolDoc1987Yukon (Kwiya, Towards a new partnership in education) 
CanEdPolDoc1988BC (Sullivan Report) 
CanEdPolDoc1987Ontario (Radwanski Report)
CanEdPolDoc1992Newfoundland (Our Children, Our Future)
CanEdPolDoc1993Alberta (Toward 2000 Together)
CanEdPolDoc1994Ontario (For the love of learning)
CanEdPolDoc1994NWT (People, Our focus for the future)
CanEdPolDoc1996Quebec (The Estates General on Education 1995-1996, Renewing Our Education System: Ten Priority Actions)
CanEdPolDoc1997Quebec (Report of the Special Joint Committee to amend Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, concerning the Quebec School System)

   Before attempting to consider this data set against the theory, it is necessary to reiterate that the consolidation of the data provides a comparative documental foundation against which 21st century public education policy in Canada may be reconsidered. As outlined at the beginning the consolidation of a complete set of public education commission reports (and other important inquiries) provides the opportunity to construct a big-picture approach to a century of public education policy making in Canada, this permitting some consideration of the historical conditions set and still preserved in public education policy in Canada as a consequence of 19th century Canadian public government history. 
   A lack of knowledge concerning the historical continuity in public education policy making in Canada has created conditions that do not provide any coherent conceptualized foundation on which national fundamental change for the 21st century in Canadian public education policy may be considered. Two key areas of consideration are First Nations and "public" education as well as protections in section 93 of the Constitution of Canada to Roman Catholic education in English Canada and protections to Protestant education in French Quebec. At the time of writing the federal government under Steven Harper is considering an Education Act for First Nations. How this progresses and whether it will be realized should ideally be based on an overhaul of the section 93. This would create an impetus for instrumental change in Canadian public education policy. We also see that the end of the 20th century public education commission reports provide us with the "Report of the Special Joint Committee to amend Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, concerning the Quebec School System.”  Given the advances made in Quebec concerning section 93 at this time in Canadian history, recognition of a separate third sphere of education policy “control” in Canada could and should be extended to the First Nations. First Nations have been asking for control over education and such control should be identified constitutionally. Further the legacy of residential schools has been very destructive to First Nations’ culture resulting in a train of First Nations social hardship and dysfunction, and an apology may be recognized in legislation through such an arrangement. 
   Also I put forth previously that Quebec has modelled that a provincial management of schools focussed on a French/English (and notwithstanding First Nations) is more appropriate to Quebec as it enters into the 21st century. I also argued that there are implications from this policy shift for English Canada, and that provinces should not be constrained to the protection of minority Roman Catholic rights at the Canadian constitutional level but that rather such rights should be devolved to the provincial or district level. Allocated protections would be decided at the devolved levels appropriate according to history and public education ministry administration in those regions (county, district or municipal). Historically, the protection to Roman Catholics in 1867 was not considered carefully and was put into place as a consequence of hastiness. Implications for the future were not a consideration at this time, as there was significant rivalry, hostility and power over culture and finances existing between Catholics and Protestants. The public school arrangement that Egerton Ryerson had so much influence over was considered by the Catholics to be more Protestant than “public.” This is no longer the case – public schools are “public” in English Canada. It could be argued that it was essentially a mistake for the 1867 constitution to borrow Quebec’s model and legislate it, and this particular analysis is outlined in Quebec’s 1966 report, and touched on earlier in this research. The primary reason for pointing this out is that it seems evident in these early years in the 21st century that the radical split existing between the Protestant and Roman Catholics existing at the time of Confederation in 1867 and before that, is no longer the primary religious dichotomy in Canada anymore and this is particularly true since issues such as sexual abuse by priests, for example, has changed the power that such individuals traditionally have had over their congregations and by extension their communities. It is time that public education legislation existing at the federal level acknowledged the shift. Early 21st century religious conflict exists around the primary radical divide existing between Christians and Muslim fundamentalists. Canadian public education policy is less able to counter fundamentalism in public education as a consequence of alienation through the limitations imposed by section 93. Muslim fundamentalists are enrolling their children in private schools and as a consequence of constitutional limitations, no oversight of such schools is provided for in Canadian public education policy. It should be evident that at this time in history the arena of “dissent” historically existing between Catholics and Protestants and represented in the “Minority Reports” featured in public education commission reports (particularly in the 60s set) is now radically altered and is likely for 21st century purposes irrelevant in Canada. Additionally, such a shift is necessary since regional needs in terms of culture could be attended to more specifically. For example, Jewish schools in Quebec, black schools in Nova Scotia and/or Acadian schools in New Brunswick could be the greater and/or primary focus in these provinces without the constraints required by under Section 93 of the constitution to protect Catholic schools. As we see, key provinces such as Newfoundland and Quebec find they cannot work within the constraints of such legislation and therefore by extension neither should the remainder of Canadian provinces and territories. Newfoundland and Quebec provide the model. This would not exclude in any regard the identification, funding and protection of Catholic schools in the provinces/territories where so deemed appropriate, but would free all provinces/territories, particularly English-language based provinces to make appropriate disbursals of public monies for public education without being limited by outdated parochial requirements to protect Catholic schools. In many cases this has happened as a consequence of necessity. Many Catholic schools are accommodating and not exclusive, they cannot afford to be, but there remain limitations at the financial level as a consequence of historical precedence in funding arriving out of constitutional requirements. What has happened as a consequence of the demand by Catholic school boards for equal funding (recognized and discussed in CanEdPolDoc1994Ontario) is that an increase in fragmentation in funding public schools is occurring, much as it is not in the interests of “public education” to allow this. In Quebec’s 1996 public education commission report the commission notes:

To attain these objectives [objectives with respect to accessibility and the graduation rate], we must remembrance the ideals and democratic practices abandoned to some extent over the past ten years or so. Concern for equal opportunity has given way, in several instances, to elitism, even as of elementary school. Gradually, and almost imperceptibly, schools have become stratified, adopting selection practices based on performance and creating a small group of elect students and a contingent of excluded ones. There has been a sharp increase in the number of students enrolled in private schools, particularly at the secondary level. In response to the perceived loss of several of its best features, the public education system has set up its own elite branches – international schools, specialized schools and programs, classes for so-called gifted students with selection criteria intended to rival those of the most prestigious private institutions. A large number of students (i.e., up to one-third of secondary students in urban centres)[fn7], often from the most socially and educationally advantaged backgrounds, no longer attend regular schools, a phenomenon that is having alarming results. Regular classes in public schools now shoulder the crushing pedagogical burden imposed by our social choices in education, namely, compulsory school attendance, the integration of students with handicaps or learning or adjustment difficulties, the francization and welcoming of immigrant students, and the maintenance of small village or neighbourhood schools. This is because the obligations stemming from these choices are not shared equitably among the various components of the education system. For example, public schools are required by law to keep students until they reach the age of 16. Private schools are not obliged to accept or retain students who perform poorly, or to integrate students with handicaps or learning or adjustment difficulties. Only a small proportion of students in private schools fall into the latter category, i.e., 2 percent at the elementary level and 0.2 percent at the secondary level. In public schools, on the other hand, 12 percent of elementary students and 16.2 of secondary students have handicaps or learning or adjustment difficulties.[fn8] In the public education system, regular schools have also had to shoulder these responsibilities alone, owing to the emergence of schools that select students on the basis of academic performance, a situation that has resulted in a two-tier public education system. (CanEdPolDoc1996Quebec2.1)

   In the case of the Canadian territories, the fundamental policy category accounting for the management and administration of Canadian territories “public” education (however such “public” education may be represented – perhaps it could be considered as First Nations Public Learning) would ideally be protected under an “Education Act,” a public education domain in a Canadian public education trichotomy that recognises English, French and First Nations domains as fundamental foundations in Canadian public education. Finally, an additional concern with respect to the western world’s 21st century split existing between Christian and fundamentalist Muslims has created, along with economic challenges, a shift to the right that generates conditions where Christian fundamentalist right positions in “public” areas of jurisdiction threaten to undermine the essential liberal frame of Canadian public education policy in Canada. A narrow positioning will not admit dialogue in public education policymaking. Dissent other than Catholic dissent in a constitutional report is not likely to occur since the constitution protects dissent to a Catholic minority. Indirect support to narrow views of such a “minority” is facilitated in Canada through, for example, Alberta’s power in the federal government at this time in Canadian history, due to leadership under Steven Harper whose political influences are Albertan in origin. Alberta’s 1993 report provides a lot of indicators concerning Canadian retrenchment rather than advance in public-education policy making. Finally, it is my experience as a PhD student in public education policy studies in Alberta that protections in the Canadian constitution to a Catholic minority in a predominantly English-speaking province has created a post-secondary departmental situation that protects Catholic-based professors to far more influence and power than is representative in an actual Canadian public policy domain. Power relative to Christian and/or fundamentalist positions is blocking policy responses from certain types of students (single mothers, Muslims, Sikh, black) students representing groups that should have greater voice and more reasonable representation at the level of the university in public education policy analysis that finds a voice in public education commission reports. Since the Catholic-based professors tend to be conservative, male, white, such professors even as they are participating in a public university and have received public financial support to achieve their high positions, are not receptive to change at the constitutional level since these professors benefit through status and salaries very greatly as a consequence of section 93. Such advantage does not permit academic and research questions regarding such arrangements at this very important level, and it could be said that such professors are mainly interested in protecting a parochial system that supports narrow perspectives even as they say they are valid representatives at the intellectual level for the public system. The additional balkanisation created by decentralized public policy existing in Canada provides additional substantial protection for a contingent of (English) provincial Catholic education policy makers at the university level who also reinvent the policy wheel (participation in “duplication of resources” in each province and territory in Canada) -- they represent a constitutionally protected minority (even as Catholic schools in English-speaking provinces behave as public schools in their municipal locations) and take up a portion of departmental resources (these derived from federal and provincial supports) and have much more power in the academic domain in public education policy than is necessary given the diversity in Canada at this time in history. As a consequence of history, Irish influence in particular over Canadian public education policy in English-speaking provinces is much greater than it should be since the Irish and Scottish Catholics have historically defended their Catholic “rights” and have used public university departments as a point from to exercise and advance this power. 
   The Canadian Territories commission reports lending their voice to change are Yukon’s 1987 document and the Northwest Territories’ 1994 document completed just a few years before the formation of Nunavut in 1999. The Northwest Territories commission report that establishes a territorial public system in contrast to what was previously more of a colonial system is Northwest Territories’ 1982 document “Learning: Tradition and Change in the Northwest Territories.” The formation of a territorial legislature in 1977 created the conditions, one of which was the legislature’s understanding that public education policy was a significant expense to the territory, prompting an inquiry into overhauling a system plagued by problems, problems such as high teacher turnover, and increasing alienation for those communities at a distance from Yellowknife (administrative centre for the managing of territorial education). As a consequence a system created around “divisional” school boards, umbrella regions that would administer a number of different communities in their jurisdiction. One large divisional board was Baffin, and the advances in designing educational curricular material specifically for the Inuit increased political power of the Inuit. What also occurred, however, was a significant increase in the costs of providing education under the divisional board system, and since these costs were borne in part by the federal government through transfer payments to the territory, it became clear that managing a territorial system in two divisions was a foregone conclusion. I argued in my Master’s thesis that territorial division was in great measure a consequence of the role of education in the Northwest Territories and the natural and indisputable fact of an “Eastern” culture and language that was not served by an administrative centre in Yellowknife. What the 1994 Territorial document represented, however, was a policy response to cutbacks in the mid to late 1980s occurring as a consequence of economic recession. A shift to the right in politics occurred at the federal level and this affected both policy decisions in Northern “public” education as well as fiscal support to public education at the Canadian Territories level. 
   Stephen Ball’s article “Big policies, small world” argues that shifts as represented in the 1994 territorial document were occurring internationally. Public education policy was a “bricolage” but the essential underpinning to these documents reflected a neoliberal shift. Accordingly, the question is whether Canadian public education documents represent a comparable national-level “bricolage” in and amongst the provincial policy products of this era, policy documents showing a neoliberal shift. From a provincial public university public education policy departmental level, an Albertan response to my Master’s thesis’ conclusion of neoliberal shift was “we already know that.” This statement I interpreted to reflect public education analyst’s position in the public education policy department that Alberta has status as a key provincial example of the neoliberal Canadian policy trend. The attitude was that Alberta was a leader in respect of this title and that other provinces were secondary in this example. The case of Alberta was all that was required and that the evidence supplied by territorial policy was extraneous and dismissible. This I interpreted as a consequence of ignorance – in that it was assumed that the Northwest Territories could not be the possessor of any significant public education policy that could make contribution to a Canadian interpretation. I also interpret this as an example of departmental discrimination applied to a Canadian public education system understood to be serving a First Nations population. In any case, part of the purpose of this research has been to counter such ignorance and discrimination concerning public education and its role and influence in Canadian Territories. But further, what the research shows so far is that a shift to the right was not necessarily a feature in all the Canadian public education commission reports of the era under review. While at this point, the research is hampered to provide an overall review of late 20th century Canadian public education policy documents from all the provinces, it is a reasonable finding to take the analytical position as follows: Even though neo-liberal shifts in public education policy could be seen occurring internationally, in many respects some commission reports of this era adhere quite remarkably to a key historical Canadian public education position defined by the concern with equity and access in/to public education. Additionally, a good portion of this interest is yet dedicated to urban/rural access. With respect to the theory the question as to what this says about policy making in the 21st century remains to be conjectured. But at this point, comment needs to consider the Yukon policy document “Kwiya” published in 1987. This document provides a link from the 1982 Northwest Territories report in terms of First Nations/Metis/Inuit and Canadian public education policy making. In this document a position outlining First Nations control over education is made and it is a representative Canadian public policy education document contributing significantly to a 20th century overview and comparative treatment of Canadian public education policy. 1) Canadian Territories’ public education policy exists and should be validated in Canadian public education overviews; and 2) Canadian First Nations/Metis/Inuit want control over their education. The second point seems reasonable to me because First Nations are First nations. The founding nations (English and French) have their culture protected through denominational parameters (public and separate systems). An additional influence to the Northwest Territories’ 1994 document was the anticipation of the formation of Nunavut following a plebiscite, and a requirement to shape a fairly loose framework for public education policy that would be flexible in terms of financial cutbacks as well as territorial division and during times causing bureaucratic upheavals. 
   Of course with a shift to the right comes belt-tightening and restraint on public expenditures, a condition of neo-liberal positions that hold that tax cuts stimulate economic growth. The policy documents produced by Newfoundland in 1992 and Quebec in 1996 and 1997 reflect an interest in streamlining provincial administration overseeing school boards that serve, in the case of Quebec, a system divided to serve Protestant and Roman Catholic students, and in the case of Newfoundland, a denominational system of seven religious groupings (protected in the 1949 terms of union). In the case of Newfoundland, the consensus was in 1992 that the denominational system in Newfoundland was problematic and inherently costly producing duplications and additional costs for bussing and smaller schools (where costs of running many small schools are high and the ability to serve diverse educational needs is challenged), and single denominational groupings. Further to this, a significant group of Newfoundlanders who were interested in non-secular schools were excluded from participation, thus creating a problem of exclusion not for a minority religious group, but for a minority non-secular public school group. However, even though Newfoundlanders agreed that rationalization of schools regardless of religious affiliation seemed necessary in order to serve Newfoundlanders equitably and with the best possible application of resources where needed, Newfoundlanders defended (in a referendum) involvement of religious denominations. 
   The nature of church involvement in the education system is what distinguishes it from others in the country, and an examination of the denominational aspects of the system was central to the activity of the Commission. There has been a gradual growth of sharing since the first denominational schools, first between the different Protestant denominations and later between protestant and Roman Catholic school authorities. The success of joint service schools has opened up whole new worlds of possibility as they demonstrate that students of different denominations can ride the bus together, mix together in the classroom and playground, and be taught by teachers of different faiths. From an educational point of view nothing was lost and a great deal was gained.
   The Commission was made aware of the moral arguments of those who support the denominational system, the financial support of the churches and the legal constraints imposed by the Constitution. However, the Commission also considered the educational and financial disadvantages of current structures and viewed the demand by parents and society in general for quality education as being a primary impetus for change. Information received from the public strongly suggested that people in this province are ready for change, but wish to retain elements of church input but which creates new structures to make it possible to deliver the best possible program to all students.   
   The Commission recommended that the present Denominational Education Councils be dissolved, but that as it is necessary for churches to have a means to advise government on educational policy and to oversee the development of religious curriculum, the Commission has strengthened the role of the Denominational Policy Commission. To streamline the delivery of education, it is recommended that the province be divided into nine districts to be administered by publicly elected school boards. These boards will be responsible for all educational matters within the region, and with the exception of teacher salaries, will be block funded in order to have the maximum flexibility in developing the means to implement the provincial curriculum and see that all children’s educational needs are met. The Commission believes this mo del will best address the need for a high-quality education system while ensuring that the money available to education is spend in the most effective way. (CanEdPoldoc1992NFLD21)

The dissenting view in the 1992 report was that the public education policy was interfering with a protection provided to a specific religious denomination in 1949. In the case of Quebec, even though the Canadian constitution specified protections to school boards along denominational lines (per Section 93 of the Constitution of Canada) Quebec’s 1996 “The Estates General on Education 1995-1996, Renewing Our Education System: Ten Priority Actions," recommended Ministry administration of public education in Quebec along the lines of language (French/English) not along denominational lines (Roman Catholic/Protestant). Interestingly, the committee writing the report reflected on the constraints imposed on such a plan by the matter of the constitution, but opined that such a redesign of the system along linguistic lines was in Quebec's interests, and that Quebec would and should persist in moving toward the new proposed arrangement. But the constitution was amended quickly by the federal parliament in 1997 to facilitate the committee's recommendations for Quebec's school system. This particular trend to denominational rationalization in Canada in the final decade of the 20th century is of great importance in looking at 20th century public education in Canada. What I have pointed out is that the Quebec's late 20th century arrangement for the 21st century essentially opens the door to an application of the Quebec model to English-oriented Canadian provinces. This is rather a no-brainer since the arrangement in the constitution along denominational lines was a consequence of Roman Catholic majority in Lower Canada or Quebec (serving a mainly Francophone community, but not exclusively as in the case, for example, of English-speaking Roman Catholic Irish Quebeckers), and a Protestant majority in Upper Canada or Ontario (serving mainly an Anglophone community, with again, its exceptions).  This is the simple root to the religious dichotomy found at the constitutional level in Canadian public education policy. In the case where Quebec reviews its public education system, and recommends administrative division along the lines of language in the last decade of the 20th century, a model for English Canada is thereby recommended for English Canada is in grand total recommended. In terms of the theory, both Newfoundland and Quebec provide evidence that even though shifts in policy during these years were geared to tax-cuts and streamlining, such moves were not entirely a consequence of economics. In the case of Quebec such moves were motivated by culture, where language more so than religion preserves culture, and where funding French-language schools and protecting minority English-language schools in a comparable tradition to historical minority religious protection, aims more directly at preserving French Canadian culture, while at the same time allowing that such reframing would permit funding to be more specifically directed. Additionally, greater provincial control over the dispersal of funds would also be anticipated. In the case of Newfoundland, a smaller province with economic challenges, and notwithstanding such economic challenges, certain features of denominational influence into curriculum and some other additional areas of the education system would be maintained even when a rational model (no protection to denominational influence in curriculum or any other area) would facilitate the most effective distribution of public education funding. However, the shift in this direction at this time in Canadian history is underwritten by fiscal concerns, concerns that are pressing enough to create room to recommend such fundamental policy change from historical tradition even with the existence of section 93.  The shift in policy is a consequence of the rising costs of public education and the challenges provincial governments face in funding public education. As previously outlined, a provincial orientation that agrees with equitable distribution of resources where children can have equal opportunity in a public system, defines the ideal in all provincial public education policy -- equity between and amongst students, have and have-hot regions/districts/counties, and urban/rural splits.
   In collocation with Yukon's 1987 "Kwiya," is Ontario's 1987 Radwanski Report and British Columbia's 1988 Sullivan Report. The Radwanski and Sullivan Reports represent provincial responses to recession beginning in 1982 and impacting education expenditures up to the time of the reports. The Sullivan Report is clear on the impact of the recession on education finances and indicates that a reversal of the down-turn began in 1986 in British Columbia. The Radwanski Report, however, appears to be a product of political turmoil following 14 years of Progressive Conservative leadership under Bill Davis as premier (March 1st, 1971 to February 8th, 1985) followed by a four months of Progressive Conservative premiership in 1985 under Frank Miller. From June 26th 1985 to October 1st, 1990, the premier of Ontario was David Peterson, a Liberal. With the recession there was pressure to look at public education policy particularly since there had been no review since the 1968 Hall-Dennis Report. It appears that the Radwanksi Report was rushed (the report completed in one year) in order to put in place a policy response to public education issues during the time where strengthening of the liberal position was required, a circumstance following on many years of conservative provincial government in Ontario under Bill Davis. According to wikipedia the provincial expenditure on public education in Ontario during the Bill Davis years rose by 454 percent between 1962 and 1971 when he was Minister of Education in the province. However, the Radwanski report reflected an international shift in public education policy in a time of economic recession in the west, with a huge decline in the manufacturing sector. It is important to consider, however, the full-sized commission report following Radwanski in Ontario completed in 1994 -- "For the Love of Learning," a report that was commissioned under Bob Rae's premiership (October 1st, 1990 to June 26th, 1995).  In many respects the Radwanski Report responds to public concerns regarding high unemployment, the degradation of manufacturing jobs with a concordant rise in service industry jobs. Research cited thirty percent dropout rate not just in Ontario, but also in British Columbia, a factor in guiding the Radwanski Report, resulting in recommendations, among others, to retool public high school education to an original notion of public education -- equality of opportunity in public education. This required gearing curriculum to this particular concern. In the Radwanski Report issues of class division lie in part behind the orientation of the document, and of course, this is of interest in terms of the application of theory in this research. However, the Radwanski Report, notwithstanding, sits in fairly close proximity to Ontario's 1994 royal commission on public education, and is sharing with this report in some aspects, particularly, for example, in the case of shifting focus and financial input from the upper end of the public education system (in Ontario, grade 13) to the preschool years and/or early childhood education. Thus and therefore, focusing on a certain class of student, the dropout student provides the weight required for shifting the ballast to a general program, as well as offering support to the funding of preschool years' education. To my mind, if the neoliberal shift cited in the literature of the late 1990s into the early 21st century is to be considered in the Canadian context, the documents under review suggest that the shift in Canada was moderated by the historical precedent reviewed in previous commissions -- Canadian adherence to issues of equity and equality, a feature of liberal ideology. There is a good deal of discussion in 1994 Ontario's commission report regarding equality and equity. This feature is a fundamental in public education policy-making in Canada during the 20th century. The Quebec 1996 commission emphasizes a restoration of these values:
To attain these objectives [objectives with respect to accessibility and the graduation rate], we must reembrace the ideals and democratic practices abandoned to some extent over the past ten years or so. Concern for equal opportunity has given way, in several instances, to elitism, even as of elementary school. Gradually, and almost imperceptibly, schools have become stratified, adopting selection practices based on performance and creating a small group of elect students and a contingent of excluded ones. (CanEdPolDoc1996Quebec2.1)
   In my master's thesis I found that the 1994 Northwest Territories policy was an example of restructuring that was a consequence of shifts in financing and policy following the recession of the early 1980s. But the Northwest Territories has a much smaller tax base to work with than some of the provinces, so the Northwest Territories was subject to cutbacks in transfer payments from the federal government. During the years from the mid 1980s into the 1990s the Northwest Territories was subjected to substantial cutbacks motivating and existing behind the production of the 1994 education policy. This Northwest Territories 1994 policy document and Alberta's 1993 provincial policy document are examples of the general neoliberal shift cited by Stephen Ball in his article "Big Policies, Small World." While I was told that Alberta's 1993 scenario was the only proof required to back the academic observation that public education policy had shifted right, it is the case, even as my master's research was dismissed, that it could be said that the 1994 territorial policy document is a good example of such a shift in public education policy. On the other hand, Alberta's 1993 document was not focused on public education in a way that followed democratic tradition, but rather the focus of the document was competitiveness and diversification and education at the secondary and post-secondary level and was going to be harnessed to that agenda. I have reviewed the content of Alberta's 1993 document in previous chapters. 
   An examination of the 1990s public education commission reports produced in Ontario and Quebec suggest that the commissions wish to reemphasize and confirm the ideological purpose of public education, to provide access and opportunity -- a feature that identifies class division, a key feature underlying systems analytic, and a condition to be mediated through public education. The focus raised by systems analytic is how and to what degree the mediation of class conflict is achieved through public education policy making, what happens in public education policy when the state is placed in a fundamental contradictory position. The commissions in Ontario and Quebec prefer to adhere to the notion of access and opportunity because such a position is fundamental to maintaining liberal ideology. The objective of the policy is to enhance the political agenda, to counter a rationality crisis on the part of the public, to increase political legitimacy right from the "bottom" (in the classroom) to the top (at the Ministry of Education).
   In terms of this overview, the categories of focus are three for the 1980s and 1990s documents: First Nations' and public education policy, the problems of denominationalism in Newfoundland and Quebec, followed by questions regarding an academic focus on a neoliberal shift in Canadian provinces in the 1990s. In order to meet the objectives of this research these areas of focus will next be considered against the theory.