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The Radical Reform Collection

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The foundations of the present-day Canadian public education system were laid in the 19th century when Canada was still a British colony. The goal of those who were set the task of reforming the education system was to better meet the needs of British colonial interests and the interests of a colony whose cities were growing. When you examine the artifacts in this collection, you always have to ask the question "whose needs are being met as public education evolved?"

There are a few key questions to keep in mind, when considering the social issues that the public education system attempts to address, be it the lack of care for underprivileged children, corporal punishment, special education or treatment of those outside of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority.
These key questions include:
 - To what extent does this issue continue? And how has it changed to the present day?
 - From whose perspective were changes in the nature of public education advantageous to the larger portion of society?
 - To what extent could changes be described as ‘radical reform’ and to what extent were the changes reactions to a changing social and political climate?

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George Street School

George Street School

c. 1910
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Park School

Original Park School

c. 1900
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Right of the Bible in Our Common Schools

Title Page, Right of the Bible in Our Common Schools

1854
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Model Schools

Drawing of Original Model Schools

1936
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Toronto Jail

Jail (1840-1860), Front St. E., s. side, between Berkeley & Parliament Sts.

c. 1850s
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Gymnastic and Calisthenics for Boys

Page 117 from The School House, Gymnastics and Calisthenics for Boys

1857
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Gymnastic and Calisthenics for Boys

Page 118 from The School House, Gymnastics and Calisthenics for Boys

1857
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Magic Lantern

Magic Lantern, page 96 from the book, The School House

1857
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Upper Floor Normal School Buildings

Figure 4 from The School House, Upper Floor Normal School Buildings

1857
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Calisthenics for Girls

Page 119 from The School House, Calisthenics for Girls

1857
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Perspective View of one of the Toronto City Ward Schools

Plan No. VI from The School House, Perspective View of one of the Toronto City Ward Schools

1857
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First Floor

Plan No. VII Fig. II, From The School Book, First Floor

1857
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Second Floor Plan

Plan No. VII, Fig. III from The School House, Second Floor

1857
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School Room Desk Layout in School for 120 Pupils

Page 64 from The School House, Fig. 1 The School room desk layout, School for 120 pupils

1857
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Fireplace Architecture

Page 65, Fig. 2 from The School House, Fireplace Architecture for the school room

1857
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Ventilating Apparatus for school room

Page 66, Fig. 3 from The School House, Ventilating Apparatus for the school room

1857
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