What can we learn from Ontario?
Here is some sound research to indicate that working with teachers in capacity building produces better schools. There is no research to show that teacher bashing produces improved schools.
OECD (2010). Strong performers and successful reformers in education: Lessons from PISA for the United States. Paris: OECD.
It can be downloaded at:
Here is one sentence that sums up the gist of it:
To this end, the ministry drew a sharp contrast between its capacity-building approach to reform and the more punitive versions of accountability used in the United States, and, to a lesser extent, in Britain. They chose to
downplay the public reporting of results, and they emphasised that struggling schools would receive additional support and outside expertise rather than be punished or closed.
Despite the positive assessment, there are many gaps in Canadian provision for bilingual/EL students but there is nothing like the teacher-bashing that is going on in the US and SES disparities are much less than in the US. Also, the pendulum in reading instruction has not swung the way it has in the US--the vast majority of Canadian school systems would happily see themselves as adopting a "balanced" approach with a lot of emphasis on actual reading.
I also recently prepared a short paper for the Council of Europe that drew heavily on recent OECD findings. It is entitled:
It can be found at: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/