Views on Education

Since September 2009, the Toronto Board of Education has opened more alternative schools than ever before. The term "alternative school" first came about in Canada in the early 1970s. Alternative education was born out of two conflicting educational traditions: 1) Progressive Tradition and 2) Libertarian Tradition.

The modern progressive tradition stresses both the need to accommodate curriculum and teaching to the stages of child development and the gradual integration of the child into adult society through planned experiential learning. In this tradition, education is considered a major vehicle for social reform and for the broad dissemination of democratic principles and practices.

The Libertarian Tradition is strongly libertarian, and stresses the rights of parents and children to make their own educational choices in life. Although both traditions have intermingled in Canada and share certain attitudes, the progressive tradition leans toward intervention and the careful planning of a child's educational activities. On the other hand, the libertarian tradition emphasizes noninterference with natural learning processes and the importance of freedom and personal choices.