The Power of the Logic Model in Coordinating the Work of Policymakers and Local Programs

So why is it that the educational aims of the majority of learners in LBS are not valued on their own and made secondary to employment aims? Why are some some programs pressured to not support independence goals and learners' personal aspirations? Why is the value of the independence category questioned? Why do some learners … Continue reading The Power of the Logic Model in Coordinating the Work of Policymakers and Local Programs

Force-fitting LBS into the Employment Ontario system and chasing after a bogus standard (Part 2)

What is essentially seen by learners as an educational access program is force-fit into an employment service system. Then, an impossible testing standard is established for the system using a falsified threshold level from international literacy testing. Ontario’s LBS system is made accountable for fulfilling the employment goals that most learners don’t have and for … Continue reading Force-fitting LBS into the Employment Ontario system and chasing after a bogus standard (Part 2)

LBS budget increase: $85 million and 80,000 learners by 2021

I was planning to write more about the LBS force-fit into Employment Ontario but then more details about the infusion of funding into LBS were released and I got a little distracted by $85 million in exchange for 80,000 new students. Last Friday the minister for Advanced Education and Skills Development announced a substantial funding … Continue reading LBS budget increase: $85 million and 80,000 learners by 2021

Force-fitting LBS into an employment system and chasing after a bogus standard (Part 1)

Situating the Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program within the Employment Ontario (EO) system is a force-fit. LBS, primarily a learning program for those with educational and personal learning goals is integrated into an employment services and support program designed to "connect people looking for work with employers looking for work." Most adults who enroll … Continue reading Force-fitting LBS into an employment system and chasing after a bogus standard (Part 1)

(Over)managing learning: The “administrative burden” consumes staff time and priorities in a community literacy program

A program coordinator in a community-based Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program took some time from her work to walk me through the systems and processes she has developed to fulfill mandated ministry reporting and organize a learning program.* Patti (a pseudonym) works full-time at an urban community-centre, which hosts the LBS program. Her paid … Continue reading (Over)managing learning: The “administrative burden” consumes staff time and priorities in a community literacy program

A mapping of the “administrative burden” in LBS programs

This will be the first of a few posts focused on particular findings, conclusions and recommendations in the recent Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) evaluation report. I hope to highlight and synthesize identified issues, providing both policy analysts and LBS support organizations the in-depth knowledge and understandings needed to make important decisions moving forward. The … Continue reading A mapping of the “administrative burden” in LBS programs

Know-It-All School Reformers

Although Larry Cuban’s post on school reform is focused on the US K-12 system, this overview of what we know and don’t know about education reform, including the impacts of curriculum, testing and performance or merit pay systems, relates to what we have seen happening in Ontario’s adult literacy system.

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Listen to Michael Mann, a climatolgist at Penn State University who talked about the science behind global warming and rising sea levels.

Any honest assessment of the science is going to recognize that there are things we understand pretty darn well and things that we sort of know. But there are things that are uncertain and there are things we just have no idea about whatsoever. (Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise, 2012, p. 409).

Ah, if only federal and state policymakers, researchers, and reform-minded educators would see the “science” of school reform in K-12 and higher education in similar terms. “Science” is in quote marks because there is no reliable, much less valid, theory of school reform that can predict events or improvements in schools and classroom instruction.

Still, for K-12 children and youth there are “things we understand pretty darn well.”

*We understand that socioeconomic…

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Now we have something real to talk about: From 50% to 15% of the population with literacy challenges

There’s a lot happening in Ontario’s Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program these days. On April 12 a long-awaited and very critical evaluation report was released. Then, on April 28 an influx of new funding was announced in the Ontario Budget. This year, LBS will receive an additional 20 million dollars, a 20% increase, with … Continue reading Now we have something real to talk about: From 50% to 15% of the population with literacy challenges

The LBS evaluation report and distinction between design and implementation problems

On April 12, Ontario’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) released a report detailing the findings of a program evaluation completed November 2016. The report is here, and here is an accompanying executive summary. The findings are hard-hitting. Those in the field will finally see their concerns acknowledged, and meticulously documented in a … Continue reading The LBS evaluation report and distinction between design and implementation problems

ESEE Update and a Study of School Board Participants in the LGRP

The Learner Gains Research Project (LGRP) wrapped up on November 30, 2016. As far as I can tell, those coordinating the project at MAESD have not communicated directly with the field, nor the programs that participated in the project to share their findings. During a meeting I attended in late January, a MAESD representative said … Continue reading ESEE Update and a Study of School Board Participants in the LGRP