I teach a number of courses in the Faculty of Education, usually with a focus on moral/political philosophy and educational policy. I also teach ethics.


EDUC 450 (3): Democracy, Educational Policy and the School

In this course students will examine basic and fundamental questions about educational policy and practice. The course is organized around six fundamental policy questions:

i) Why should children be educated?

ii) How should children be educated?

iii) What should children learn?

iv) Where should children learn?

v) Who should control education?

vi) What is the role of teacher’s professional identity?

Each question is an invitation to critically examine and assess one’s beliefs and assumptions about education and, by extension, the nature and scope schooling and teaching. But it is also an invitation to question what it means to be an educated person in a society, for education is something that happens in a society. Therefore, these questions also require us to reflect on the nature of society, democracy, citizenship and justice. Such questions are of fundamental concern for governments, educational policy-makers, educational leaders and teachers. BC is no exception. Students will have an opportunity to see how these issues play out the BC, National and Global contexts.

Course Outline


EADM 554/ IGS 550B (3) Policy and Education: The Death and Life of Public Education

In the post-War era many viewed access to education as an engine for greater social, economic and political equality. For others, education was fundamental to the promotion of democracy as a way of life. Accordingly, the idea of public education – that education was a social good to which all democratic citizens are entitled as a matter of right – was orthodox. But the contemporary policy scene in Canada, the US and the UK reflects a very different set of values and assumptions. Basic schooling has been increasingly influenced by ideas around parental rights, consumer choice and economic efficiency. Meanwhile, higher education has been almost completely marketized as evinced in the student debt crisis, the “employability agenda” and international competition. How did we get here and do these developments signal the end of public education as a democratic ideal? Do we have reasons for holding onto this ideal, or is it time to move on? In this course we will look at the historical, economic and philosophical foundations of the ideal of public education. We will also examine the moral and political arguments for and against public education and take a careful look at what public education “looks like” today.

Course Outline