ACDE members articulated their agreement to act together for the advancement of public education in Canada through the General Accord. The General Accord, which was unanimously ratified, represents agreement among ACDE members to work together to provide a meaningful, influential, and positive voice for education in Canada. The document outlines a series of shared commitments and values relative to education, as well as the ongoing relationship among ACDE members. The partnership vision of the General Accord includes the development of a series of agreements on principles in specific areas of interest to ACDE.
ACDE members created the Accord on Initial Teacher Education as a response to perceived attacks on publicly funded, university-based, professional teacher education in the name of, and for the sake of, the public good and the public interest. The Accord, now called the Accord on Teacher Education, was fully revised in 2017 to reflect the changing context of teacher education in Canada. The Accord asserts that teacher education programs should involve the development of situated practical knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and academic content knowledge, as well as an introduction to research and scholarship in education. As such, initial teacher education programs should be situated in a university context in order to allow for the meaningful interaction of teacher candidates with research-oriented faculty, and to promote awareness of the interconnected nature of theory, research, and practice in the profession.
ACDE recognizes that it has a role and responsibility to expand educators’ and the public’s knowledge about and understanding of Indigenous education. ACDE’s vision is that Indigenous identities, cultures, languages, values, ways of knowing, and knowledge systems will flourish in all Canadian learning settings. In writing the accord, ACDE asserts its support for a socially just society for Indigenous people.
The Accord on Research in Education contextualizes and advances the research conducted by faculties of education for and with schools, communities, and educational partners. ACDE members believe that educational research is about improving what is at the core of education—learning in and out of schools and across the lifespan. With its relationship with everyday life, educational research aims to unearth and elucidate skills, strategies and attitudes needed to address the frontiers of day-to-day learning.
Policy makers and the public are becoming more aware of the importance of the early learning years in shaping the quality of children’s lives both in school and beyond. However, the quality and availability of early learning opportunities still vary considerably across Canada. The Accord seeks to address the uneven provision of quality early learning experiences by promoting improved, better connected education for preschool and elementary children.
Increasing international mobility has facilitated the rapid internationalization of higher education, straining the capacity of institutions to respond to service demands in ways that are socially accountable. Canada was ranked the 7th most popular country for international students, with nearly 337,000 studying in Canada in 2014. This Accord addresses concerns about ethical and responsible internationalization by setting out guidelines for principled international educational practices within Canadian universities.
International engagements provide many benefits, along with related challenges:
The Accord presents five principles for ethical engagement in international activities:
With the unprecedented crises resulting from climate change, such as melting sea ice, wildfires, desertification in Africa, rising sea levels and extreme weather events, we are running out of time to address the human-linked environmental threats to our planet. As a species we need to review our use of the world’s resources to address overextraction and over-harvesting and promote regeneration. We have the capacity to enact hope: to make different choices about how we live and work in consideration of our individual and collective environmental footprint. As Canadian Deans of Education, we have an ethical responsibility for the fate of those at the margins who are more vulnerable to the threats from environmental degradation.