Education at root of a just society

Posted on November 5, 2008 in Child & Family Debates, Education Debates, Inclusion Debates – Opinion/letter – Education at root of a just society
November 05, 2008

Re:Taking charge of the future, Oct. 31

Kudos to Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education. Through the media, she has focused the attention of Ontario citizens on the fact that education is the foundation of a civil society – that education is to lead society.

The speakers at the forum were very clear that for our society to sustain itself and to evolve to a better one, it is essential that each and every one of us recognize what roles we can take in being protagonists in achieving a just society.

For politicians, school board members and educators to say that education merely “reflects society” is to absolve themselves of responsibility for doing what education is all about and relinquishes their control in making a difference by ignoring their duties and obligations.

From its conception (Plato, Aristotle), the role of education was to promote positive societal change, equity and justice for all members within society. Public education was to be the great equalizer through a focus on human rights and equity for all.

“Taking charge of the future” involves recognizing that we are all responsible and accountable for what happens within the educational system. It means ensuring that all parties involved recognize their duties and obligations and comply with their legally mandated responsibilities. It is essential that all parties be held responsible and accountable for doing so through effective monitoring and enforcement practices. Currently in Ontario, there is no body that has the power to ensure that the government, the minister of education, the boards of education and educators fulfil their legally mandated duties.

The future of our society is based in how we educate our children. It is time for all of us to recognize the importance of working in authentic collaboration to achieve the type of educational system that will develop citizens who are social justice oriented. Citizens who are social justice oriented are critical thinkers who will address the root causes of societal problems and will find creative solutions through promoting fairness, equity in education and employment opportunities, and meaningful democratic engagement.

Janis Jaffe-White and Reva Schafer, Toronto Family Network

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