People for Education 2

“Measuring What Matters 2: Enhancing Support for Broad Competencies in Education”

2017 2020

The goal of this work was to builds on the achievements and learnings of the last 3 years of the previous grant in order to realize the potential for significant shifts in policy both at the provincial level and “on the ground practice” at the school level.

As a result of this work, they:

  • Recruited a National Advisory Committee of leaders from across Canada and developed partnerships with experts and practitioners from multiple sectors who are ready to work with them to support system change.
  • Hosted their second National Summit in 2020, where a clear appetite for change was demonstrated.
  • Developed a draft Right to Education Framework. The framework outlines four components of a right to education – access, accountability, quality, and respect – and defines concrete goals for each area. The overall vision for “quality” is public education prepares all students with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to be healthy, engaged citizens in the changing world of work, learning, and life.
  • Laid the ground work for a Continuum of Learning initiative that will be supported by a working table, and provide a foundation for network-building, data-sharing, and policy development across the country and across education from early childhood through to post-secondary.

A key insight from this work: 

The lesson that we learn over and over is that this work takes time, and, when facing wicked problems, it is not possible to skip steps to get to the answer more quickly. Building partnerships, fostering networks, popularizing ideas, and working toward system change involves a great deal of listening, iterating, challenging assumptions, and true collaboration. The work on the Right to Education Framework took a year longer than we anticipated, and, now that we have a draft framework, the real work will begin.

We have learned a great deal about developing effective working tables with members who represent multiple perspectives. The structure of meetings, the methods for getting input on projects, and the way feedback is received and acted upon are all key components of ensuring that members of the table maintain a sense of ownership and engagement in the work.

We have also learned to embed developmental evaluation into our work to ensure we take time to pause, reflect, and pivot if necessary. This too, can slow things down, but it makes the focus of the work and the choices we make more intentional.

True system change in education will require a cross section of voices and advocates at the “table.” Education outcomes are interconnected with health, with the economy, with the job market, with early learning and care, and with most of our social policy. Our work has focused on bringing multiple sectors together and collaborating to understand what would make policy and practice more effective. We will continue to work to enhance our capacity to collaborate with partners through working tables, advisory committees, and focused outreach. The next challenge is to lay the groundwork to support effective networks across the country.


About People for Education

People for Education is an independent, non-partisan, charitable organization working to support and advance public education through research, policy, and public engagement.