Public Schools and Political Ideas: Canadian Educational Policy in Historical Perspective


350 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-8020-7209-7
DDC 370'.971




Alexander D. Gregor is associate dean of the Faculty of Education at the
University of Manitoba and co-editor of Postsecondary Education in
Canada: The Cultural Agenda.


This study examines the educational system as a reflection of public
philosophy rather than as a social entity having its own distinct
character and inner logic. Moving from the mid-19th century to the
present, Manzer reviews the development of public education across the
provinces, limiting his focus to the elementary and secondary levels.
Manzer sees Canadian public policy as having been dominated by an
evolving liberal ideology. At the same time, he notes that educational
policy and practice can also have a reciprocal influence on public
philosophy. He suggests that because public policy in Canada must be
based on power and compromise, in the absence of consensual agreement on
ends and means, the structures emerging from that public policy
regarding education may well show a way of reconstituting the overriding
Canadian public philosophy itself.

The target audience for the book is not obvious. Although not requiring
formal study in political science, it is too conceptually complex for
the general reader or, for that matter, the general undergraduate. One
would expect the readership to consist primarily of graduate students in
political studies and educational theory.


Manzer, Ronald., “Public Schools and Political Ideas: Canadian Educational Policy in Historical Perspective,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,