For over 20 years, People for Education has been a powerful, independent voice for publicly funded education.
From kitchen tables to policy tables...
People for Education began in 1996, as part of a social movement that emerged in response to a radical restructuring of public services by the Ontario government. This restructuring was dramatically affecting education, health and other social services. Ontario’s education system became one of the primary battlegrounds in a very polarized debate. There was labour and social protest across the province, with a number of teacher labour actions, including strikes.
From the beginning, our goal was to represent public education itself, as opposed to joining one of the “sides” in the education debate. While unequivocally a voice in defense of publicly funded education, we have always aimed to be a voice that is both reasoned and evidence-based. Through our annual school survey, we began to collect evidence about the impact of funding and policy changes on the public education system, while relying on media-savvy activism to get our voice heard.
Today, People for Education works to engage key education stakeholders in an evidence-based dialogue about how to ensure that public education lives up to its promise – ensuring that all young people, no matter what their beginnings or post-secondary destinations, get the skills they need for future success. We produce our own research and share research and information from across the education sector to feed this dialogue.
In 2013, People for Education launched our largest project to date: a multi-year initiative called Measuring What Matters. The project is exploring what competencies and skills matter in the 21st century, and how measurement and assessment of these competencies could function as lever of positive change in the public education system. Measuring What Matters represents a new stage in our gradual transition from tracking “what is” in Ontario’s public education system to envisioning and developing research-based policy recommendations on “what could be/should be”.