The governing and financing of public education is everywhere a complex undertaking. The 1960s was for Ontario a vital decade in education, when the structure of local school boards, provincial and federal financing and control, the provision of academic and vocational systems, and the Department of Education itself were all reconsidered and changed to attain greater efficiency and opportunity throughout the province.
This is a detailed case study in intergovernmental relations focusing on provincial-local relations in education. It offers a perceptive insight into the nature of the political system in Ontario by presenting a clear and straightforward analysis of the formulation, content, and impact of provincial policy upon the provision of public education by local school boards.
The text is divided into five parts. The first part is an analysis of the provincial-local context within which the policies of the provincial government were developed. The second deals with the Ontario Foundation Tax Plan, a programme of grants from the province to the school boards. Part III is an analysis of two policies developed in a federal-provincial context: capital grants for the construction of vocational schools and the Ontario Education Capital Aid Corporation. Part IV examines three policies affecting the structure of educational government in Ontario: the consolidation of school districts in 1965, the reorganization of the Department of Education, and the further consolidation of school districts in 1969 into county units. In knitting together the highlights of the study, Part V pays special attention to the complex but revealing interrelationship between problems, policies, and the intergovernmental political system of Ontario, and shows how problems were resolved, ameliorated, or even exaggerated by the combined effect of the provincial and federal-provincial programmes. The focus then shifts to the years 1969 and 1970 to demonstrate the changed nature of provincial policy emerging from within an apparently changed context of provincial-local relations.
Throughout the study the author's detailed knowledge and thorough understanding of the policies and processes of the educational system are evident. He presents a mine of statistical information combined with a remarkably keen and concise analysis of the administrative process. This study will be of great interest to educators, administrators, and students of intergovernmental relations.
About the author
David M. Cameron is a professor emeritus of political science at Dalhousie University, Halifax, and was a consultant in policy development in the Ministry of State for Urban Affairs, Ottawa.