School funding and education policy-making models in Ontario /
Bosanac, Stephen J.
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The purpose of this thesis is to examine various policy implementation models, and to determine what use they are to a government. In order to insure that governmental proposals are created and exercised in an effective manner, there roust be some guidelines in place which will assist in resolving difficult situations. All governments face the challenge of responding to public demand, by delivering the type of policy responses that will attempt to answer those demands. The problem for those people in positions of policy-making responsibility is to balance the competitive forces that would influence policy. This thesis examines provincial government policy in two unique cases. The first is the revolutionary recommendations brought forth in the Hall -Dennis Report. The second is the question of extending full -funding to the end of high school in the separate school system. These two cases illustrate how divergent and problematic the policy-making duties of any government may be. In order to respond to these political challenges decision-makers must have a clear understanding of what they are attempting to do. They must also have an assortment of policy-making models that will insure a policy response effectively deals with the issue under examination. A government must make every effort to insure that all policymaking methods are considered, and that the data gathered is inserted into the most appropriate model. Currently, there is considerable debate over the benefits of the progressive individualistic education approach as proposed by the Hall -Dennis Committee. This debate is usually intensified during periods of economic uncertainty. Periodically, the province will also experience brief yet equally intense debate on the question of separate school funding. At one level, this debate centres around the efficiency of maintaining two parallel education systems, but the debate frequently has undertones of the religious animosity common in Ontario's history. As a result of the two policy cases under study we may ask ourselves these questions: a) did the policies in question improve the general quality of life in the province? and b) did the policies unite the province? In the cases of educational instruction and finance the debate is ongoing and unsettling. Currently, there is a widespread belief that provincial students at the elementary and secondary levels of education are not being educated adequately to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The perceived culprit is individual education which sees students progressing through the system at their own pace and not meeting adequate education standards. The question of the finance of Catholic education occasionally rears its head in a painful fashion within the province. Some public school supporters tend to take extension as a personal religious defeat, rather than an opportunity to demonstrate that educational diversity can be accommodated within Canada's most populated province. This thesis is an attempt to analyze how successful provincial policy-implementation models were in answering public demand. A majority of the public did not demand additional separate school funding, yet it was put into place. The same majority did insist on an examination of educational methods, and the government did put changes in place. It will also demonstrate how policy if wisely created may spread additional benefits to the public at large. Catholic students currently enjoy a much improved financial contribution from the province, yet these additional funds were taken from somewhere. The public system had it funds reduced with what would appear to be minimal impact. This impact indicates that government policy is still sensitive to the strongly held convictions of those people in opposition to a given policy.