The Policy and Research team’s research agenda is aimed at developing a sound education research base and public dialogues for our key issues, critical to public education in Canada. In this way we are able to position our policy focus to government on solid evidence-based research.
Issues are identified by the Policy and Research Advisory Council, through other organizational avenues and in response to topical issues of concern to Canadians in the area of public education. Issues addressed by the Policy and Research department have included resilience in youth, early learning, the impact of demographic change on public education in Canada, students at risk and educational governance.
In developing the organization’s strategic plan for 2008 – 2011, The Learning Partnership consulted with our stakeholders from government, the education sector, community foundations, not-for-profit organizations, the corporate sector and our Policy and Research Advisory Council. We asked the question “What do you think are the biggest issues facing Canada’s public education system today”.
The following themes were identified as important for TLP when considering its research and policy agenda, and pursuing opportunities to engage Canadians in discussion:
- Literacy: A strong basis in literacy is the foundation of all learning. Children who develop skills in reading, writing and comprehension will be able to succeed in their academic aspirations. However, there is an increased need to understand why there is a lack of love of reading in some children and why there is unequal performance of boys/girls in primary and secondary school.
- Diversity: The context of the education system reflects the complexity and diversity of our schools and their communities. To ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to succeed in school is critical to a democratic and prosperous society. Research questions focus on why some visible minorities are doing well, others are not, especially in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and science. It is also important that we understand better how to eliminate the achievement gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners.
- Transitions: Educational research has clearly demonstrated the need to focus on those periods in children’s and young people’s development when they are most vulnerable and need additional support. A good understanding of why some children are resilient during these transitions and others are not, will increase the likelihood of success.
- Science, Mathematics and Technology: Science, math & technology education is essential to support the 21st century Canadian ‘can-do’ society. Cultivating innovation and entrepreneurship applied to key areas, including environment, will help support Canada’s competitive capacity. There is a need for providing support for teachers to teach these subjects and an increased need for opportunities for students to participate and explore/create in these fields. Technology plays a significant role in providing e-learning to remote communities and making students independent learners using technology.