Vad kan vi lära av Ontario?

Jag var i Toronto för 15 år sedan. Då var inte reformernas inriktningen lika generös som de beskrivs i artikeln. Med mina mått var de nya kursplanerna extrem rigorösa. Någonting har hänt på vägen.

Texten är från The Guardian och anlägger ett längtande brittiskt perspektiv på den gamla kolonin:

The state matters, not as a monolithic controller of schools but as a driver for change and high expectations. Ontario learned from some of the 1997 English Labour government’s successes (when standards mattered more than structures), while being less prescriptive and recognising that support rather than punishment was a better way to tackle schools that were not improving fast enough.

The Ontario government chose a few targeted and ambitious, but not unusual, objectives: raising standards for all, narrowing gaps, increasing participation rates, and growing public confidence in state schools. But rather than experimenting with US-style marketisation policies and tinkering with structures, it developed a rigorous programme based on evidence, and began a relentless focus on implementation and building capacity at every level.

”Skill” and ”will” became the watchwords, not just for teachers but for everybody involved in the education system, which progressed rapidly thanks to massive investment in leadership and professional development at school, district and ministerial level.

Public statements from government and ministers were switched to be deliberately supportive rather than dismissive of state schools. Finally, and most crucially, the government set out to build a respectful, collaborative relationship with teachers, unions, pupils and parents. ”You cannot threaten, shame or punish people into top performance,” writes Levin.

It all seems a long way from home, where division and animosity prevail, parents and teachers are obliged to organise against forced, unpopular takeovers of their schools, anyone who dares to criticise the government is a closet Trot, and even the headteachers’ union is polling members on how morale is affecting their work.

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