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Education in Ontario 421
Education in Ontario
In early Canada, following the policy of the common schools act of 1850, students were segregated based on social background, religion, race, and gender. Also, many people were unable to attend school due to cost, or the distance to travel to school, and therefore many had minimal education. When Egerton Ryerson became Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada, he campaigned for free and universal education, which became the law in 1871, allowing taxes to go towards provincial education, as it still does today. This however did not end segregation, and further policies focused on assimilation created by Ryerson and the Federal Government led to the expansion of the harmful Residential school system. Segregation did not officially end until 1983 and the Residential School System was not eradicated until 1996.  ​
The four principles Ryerson established remain the foundation of our educational system today:
(1) Schools should be managed by the people through elected trustees;
(2) Grants of government money should be used to assist local endeavours;
(3) Schools should be supported through taxation and every child should attend;
(4) Schools should be inspected regularly.
Schoolhouse Plan 1857 copy.jpg

Buttonville schoolhouse was built in 1872 using Plan No. 3 from: The Schoolhouse; Its Architecture, External and Internal Arrangements, by J. George Hodgins, 1857.

As long as the community had 20 school-age children and three elected trustees, they could receive a government grant to build a school. It is likely that Buttonville received a grant because an acre of land was bought by the trustees from Mr. Joseph Wilmott for $100.00 in 1872.
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