The Canadian education system faces some serious challenges. But most media outlets fail to report on those problems, Discourse Media found in our new landscape analysis, “How do we talk about success in childhood?”
Reporting on education in Canada is often driven by conflicts or by political funding discussions. But the people interviewed in the landscape analysis highlight other important issues. Most media outlets don’t talk about good-news stories of successful young Canadians, and newspapers and broadcasters don’t ask whether fast-growing private schools pose a threat to the public education system that Canada has cherished for many decades.
Often, journalists don’t know enough about the challenges in the education system — with a few exceptions. Most of Canada’s education reporting is now done by general reporters who don’t have the time to dig for underlying problems. And the daily news cycle doesn’t reward deeper research. So news articles about education often stick to what politicians in different regions have to say.
Our analysis finds that what’s missing is a neutral space for discussions about education in Canada. It’s important to focus on the national level, because schools do not only impact the lives of young people in different regions. The education system determines some of the core values of Canadian society. The question is: what do we want our society to be like and how can we prepare our kids for that? Media should be enabled to ask that question more often.
For the landscape analysis, commissioned by Ashoka Canada, Discourse Media analyzed over 600 media sources and interviewed over a dozen education professionals, parents and others.
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