Information about the use of physical restraint, seclusion, and time-out rooms in Canadian schools has primarily been anecdotal (media reports and anonymous survey data) due to uneven and non-existent mandates for reporting, transparency and public accountability. The absence of clearly articulated mandates to provide written documentation and publicly available data has allowed this issue to remain obscured from public scrutiny and has severely hampered advocacy efforts for students with disabilities, who are disproportionately impacted. Building upon a prior policy analysis that investigated the policy landscape of physical restraint, seclusion, and time-out in Canadian educational jurisdictions, the current policy analysis explores an additional variable, which was not previously considered, notably the degree to which educational jurisdictions provide clear regulatory requirements to document, report, and review incidents of physical restraint, seclusion, and time-out rooms in schools. Findings indicate that inconsistent reporting requirements have created glaring gaps and loopholes in accountability mechanisms that severely disadvantage students with disabilities. Recommendations include problematizing the institutionalized structures that enable information about the use of restraint, seclusion, and time-out to be filtered and concealed, and identifying guiding principles, which are grounded in research, that can provide a framework for much needed regulatory standards relative to this issue.
Studies have shown how digital communications impact administrators’ work, but few have looked at the reputational risks to school administrators incurred through social media and digital communications. This Alberta case study looks at risk through Kasperson et. al’s (1988) social amplification of risk framework for an exclusion room controversy. Twitter responses are analyzed and interpreted over a longitudinal, 5-year period. Despite school administrators’ perceptions that risk might be generated on social media from community-led, grass-roots sources, traditional figures and agencies such as provincial news media and politicians appear more influential than school administrators, teachers, or parents in the Twitterverse. Implications are drawn for educational administrative behaviour and policy.
Plusieurs études ont montré l’impact des communications numériques sur le travail des administrateurs. Peu d’entre eux se sont penchés sur les risques pour la réputation des administrateurs scolaires encourus par les médias sociaux. Cette étude de cas de l'Alberta examine le risque pour une controverse sur la salle d'exclusion, à la lumière du cadre de l’amplification sociale (Kasperson et al., 1988). Les réponses Twitter sont analysées et interprétées sur une période longitudinale de 5 ans. Malgré les perceptions des administrateurs scolaires selon lesquelles le risque pourrait être généré sur les médias sociaux par des sources communautaires et locales, les personnalités et agences traditionnelles telles que les médias et les politiciens provinciaux semblent plus impliquées que les administrateurs scolaires, les enseignants ou les parents dans le Twitterverse. Des répercussions pour le comportement et la politique des administrateurs de l'éducation sont décrites.
This paper presents case studies of teacher union-government relationships in three Canadian provinces – British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta – where teacher organizations have undertaken divergent strategic positions relative to educational reform. It identifies critical factors that may lead teacher unions to challenge government reforms, how and when a teacher organization might instead accommodate governmental reform, and under what circumstances union renewal drives an organization to establish reform strategies of its own. The paper demonstrates the results of these varied strategies and suggests that teacher unions’ stances, including when they are resistant, are rational and, arguably, necessary.
Differentiated Instruction (DI) is a framework that supports planning for diversity within K-12 classrooms. Research has grown steadily over the past 15 years that explores DI implementation, as well as beliefs and practices. Literature to date has focused heavily on the experiences of educators, with limited attention given to the role of leadership in implementing DI in schools. The current study explores the perspectives of 19 school and board-level administrators regarding the ways in which a differentiated instruction framework was implemented within their school board as well as facilitators and barriers to the implementation and uptake of the framework. Interviews revealed five themes: a) DI continuum, b) differentiated professional learning supports, c) making space for shared professional learning, d) align/integrate/embed, and e) multi-level leadership. Our findings reflect a strong belief system of most of the participants with respect to the foundations of DI as well as an understanding of effective approaches to professional learning and school change.
The theoretical framework for this study draws on conceptual advances from two bodies of scholarship: 1) complexity thinking in education, which has recently focused on school system change and, 2) school leadership research, which has recently attended to the effects of leadership interventions to school improvement. Using a complexity-thinking framework, the purpose of this study was to understand how leadership practices contribute to shaping change in school systems and how change occurred across the system. Our study was conducted in an urban centre in Alberta within a public-school jurisdiction and in an area of the city that had a high population of students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds from low-income households compared to other areas across the school jurisdiction. Students in this area typically scored in the lowest quartile on provincial standardized examinations. Our findings are significant because complexity thinking in the context of school leadership has not received sufficient empirical attention. In our study we identified and described pedagogical leadership practices that play a central role in redressing disparities currently found in schools.
This paper presents an update of a 2010-literature review on class size research completed as background in preparation of an affidavit on class size provided by the lead author in the case of British Columbia Teachers’ Federation v. British Columbia, argued before the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2010, appealed ultimately to the Supreme Court of Canada and ruled on November 10, 2016. We find that smaller classes can improve teacher-student interactions and individualized instruction, decreasing time spent on discipline issues, leading to better student behaviour, attitude, and efforts. Smaller classes generally have greater advantages for younger students, and effects are more observable in class sizes of less than 20. Small classes may shrink achievement gaps, decrease dropout rates, and increase high school graduation rates, and appear to enhance academic outcomes, particularly for marginalized groups. Researchers have detected class size effects many years later. Small classes have been found to boost teachers’ morale and job satisfaction. While some studies have found effects at the secondary and post-secondary level, results are generally inconclusive at this level. Finally, some researchers have argued that class size reductions are an inefficient use of funds which might be better spent elsewhere in the system. The paper concludes with a brief reflection on the process of providing this research for Supreme Court case.
This article looks at fifty years’ worth (1970-2020) of public K-12 education expenditure data from the Canadian province of British Columbia. It asks if spending has increased or decreased in this period and examines the causes and correlates of spending changes. Previous research has tended to assume that spending has decreased during this “neoliberal” period. However, historical and empirical research in this article gives a much different picture. K-12 public education spending in British Columbia – adjusted for inflation – is 250 percent higher in 2020 than it was in 1970. Meanwhile, enrolment in 2020 is only 110 percent of 1970 enrolment. The main cause of spending growth is increase in the number of teachers the system employs, which depended in no small part on the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF)’s successful attempts to negotiate class size and composition rules. Other causes of spending growth are provincial and district spending priorities. Successive provincial governments have tried to rein in education spending by legislating cost controls on district spending and teacher contracts but have seldom achieved reductions for long. Spending increases and attempts at cost control are at best only linked partially to governing party ideology, with right-wing and left-wing provincial governments both initiating years of increases and cutbacks. More empirical research is needed, especially into spending’s effects on educational equity and quality, to complete the picture of education finance in British Columbia.