Independent Schools, Independent Thinkers
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 21 Nov 1996, p. 219-230
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Independent Schools, Independent Thinkers

The speaker's background in education, even in her family life. Some aspects of independent education in Canada, as reflected in the speaker's experience at Branksome Hall. The speaker's belief that "Independence creates value." The benefits of independence. The challenges that emerge when schools are not totally free to govern themselves. Suggestions of lessons that emerge from this contrast. The exceptional quality of the educational experience that an independent school can provide, and the reasons for it. A brief history of independent schools. What an independent school can do for young women. A second benefit of promoting creativity among the faculty, teachers and administrators. Fostering creativity in programmes. A third important value of independence of creating a strong sense of community. Reaching out to involve parents. Personal attention in small classes. Providing friends for life. Paying attention to the whole child. Implementing Codes of Conduct. Placing a high value on physical fitness and athletics. Evaluation under the auspices of the Canadian Educational Standards Institute (CESI). A brief description of how that evaluation takes place. The speaker's enthusiasm about what independent schools achieve. A discussion of two forces which currently curtail creativity: the top-down control of the Ministry of Education and Training, and the current university admission process. Discussions in the public arena about charter schools. Independent schools as a model that demonstrably works and works well.