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On Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 7pm, the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education presented Early Learning in Ontario: A conversation on the implementation of Charles Pascal's recent report to the Premier of Ontario. Moderated by the Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education and introduced by Charles Pascal, Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, this event featured a conversation with Professor George Dei, Professor and former Deputy Minister of Education Ben Levin, Professor Janette Pelletier and Kimberly Bezaire, OISE PhD graduate.


The webcast of the 2009 R.W.B. Jackson Lecture is available for viewing at mediacast.ic.utoronto.ca/20091118-OISE/index.htm.

About the Participants

The Hon. Kathleen Wynne currently serves as Minister of Education in the Ontario Government. Prior to entering Cabinet in 2006, she served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education, Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Community Affairs Policy, and Chair of the Liberal Women’s Caucus. She was first elected MPP for Don Valley West in October 2003, and was re-elected to a second term in October 2007. Before her election as an MPP, she served as Public School Trustee for Ward 8. Her career focus has been in education and mediation. Minister Wynne holds a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Toronto and a Master of Education in Adult Education from OISE.


Charles Pascal is the Premier’s Special Advisor on Early Learning and the author of With Our Best Future In Mind. He teaches leadership and policy at OISE and has held professorial and administrative positions at U of T since 1977. Dr Pascal has a strong background in education, policy development, leadership, and organizational development. He was President of Sir Sandford Fleming College and Chair of the Council of Regents for Ontario’s colleges, and held deputy ministerial posts with the Government of Ontario, including the Premier’s Council on Health, Community and Social Services, and Education and Training. He is the Executive Director of the Atkinson Charitable Foundation. Pascal has published extensively in the fields of education and psychology and received awards and honours, including honorary diplomas from Niagara College and Humber College.


George Dei is a Professor and past Chair of the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies at OISE. His teaching and research interests are in Anti-Racism, Minority Schooling, International Development and Anti-Colonial Thought. Between 1996 and 2000 he served as the first Director of the Centre for Integrative Anti-Racism Studies at OISE. Active in a number of community organizations in Ontario, he has received several awards for his dedicated service to the community and the education of minority youth. Dei was a member of the City of Toronto Mayor’s Roundtable on “Children, Youth and Education” and the Minister of Training Colleges and Universities in Ontario’s “Postsecondary Education Advisory Committee on First Generation Students.” He has published extensively on race, anti-racism and minority youth schooling.

Ben Levin is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Education Leadership and Policy in the Department of Theory and Policy Studies in Education at OISE. His current interests are in large-scale change, poverty and inequity, and finding better ways to connect research to policy and practice in education. Levin has just completed a second short period as Deputy Minister for Education in Ontario after also serving in that role from 2004 to 2007. He served in similar roles in Manitoba from 1999 through 2002. He has worked with private research organizations, school districts, provincial governments, and national and international agencies, as well as building an academic and research career. Levin has published five books, most recently, How to Change 5000 Schools, and more than 200 articles on education.

Janette Pelletier is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology at OISE. Her research expertise is in the area of the transition to school, including kindergarten and integrated early years services such as Toronto First Duty and Peel Best Start. She has carried out extensive research on the role of parents in early education and family literacy in diverse populations. Pelletier is a former kindergarten and Grade 1 teacher and is a council member for the College of Early Childhood Educators. She teaches and supervises graduate students in Developmental Psychology and Education and in the two-year MA in Child Study and Education teacher education program at the Institute of Child Study.

Kimberly Bezaire is an Early Childhood Education specialist and recent PhD graduate in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE. Her research interests include children’s classroom play, multiliteracies, and the children’s toy market. Bezaire has taught in child care and kindergarten settings, as well as in teacher education. Her work includes consulting on projects relating to kindergarten, and the arts in early childhood. She is currently teaching in OISE’s initial teacher education program and Ryerson’s School of Early Childhood Education. She successfully defended her dissertation earlier this fall and graduated in mid-November.


Download a PDF of the invitation here

About the R.W.B. Jackson Lecture Series

The R.W.B. Jackson Lecture series was established as a tribute to the founding director of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, R.W.B. Jackson, who served as the Institute's director from 1965-1975. This annual lecture presents outstanding educational leaders speaking on major social and educational issues. The series is funded by donations from friends, colleagues, alumni, and educational and charitable institutions.

Past Jackson Lecturers include James (Jim) Cummins, Rosemary Tannock, Kenneth Leithwood, Michael Fullan, David Livingstone, Keith Stanovich, Marlene Scardamalia, Dan Keating, Michal Skolnik, The Hon. Monique Begin and The Hon. William G. Davis.