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The Other Canadian 'Mosaic'-'race' equity education in Ontario and British Columbia

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ABSTRACT While the influence of multicultural and anti-racist education has declined significantly in England and Wales since the late 1980s (as a result of the continuing impact of New Right thinking on education policy), this has not occurred in other countries. For example, in Canada successive federal administrations-irrespective of political hue-have remained firmly committed to Pierre Trudeau's (1971) pluralistic notion of the Canadian 'mosaic' and continued to endorse educational and social policies to promote 'race' and ethnic equality. Despite this, regional devolution has ensured that the responses to these federal initiatives at the provincial level have been varied and that developments in practice have been uneven. In this paper, we draw upon ethnographic data in an attempt to provide a sociological account of these regional differences. Focusing on the perspectives of a sample of 42 'active players' in the field of race equity education (i.e. teachers and youth workers, academics, university administrators, school board officials, equity officers, provincial government officials, consultants, grass-roots activists and representatives of various pressure groups), we compare and contrast the developments in theory, policy and practice in two Canadian provinces: Ontario and British Columbia. Throughout the paper, we underline the importance of grounded research, focusing on the part played by local political and historical conditions in both shaping and modifying the articulation and effects of federal policy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1997

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