In his April 24, 2017, Globe and Mail article entitled, The jig is up for Canada's school boards, Konrad Yakabuski calls for the end of publicly elected school boards, describing them as "a sorry spectacle of Canadian democracy". He charges that they "are plagued by petty ideological battles, personality conflicts, incivility and sheer incompetence". Mr. … Continue reading Why Mr. Yakabuski is Wrong
On March 16 I was honoured to present the opening Keynote to the 2017 MSBA Annual Conference on the topic of "Linking Effective Governnce to Student Success". I also presented a concurrent session on "Building a Strong Relationship Between the Board and Superintendent through Performance Planning and Review". For those participants who requested a copy of … Continue reading Slides from my Manitoba School Boards Association Keynote and Concurrent Presentations
Most of the articles on this blog focus on the importance and improvement of locally elected school boards, but no matter how skilled any single board may be, it cannot be its best in isolation. Most provinces have school board/trustee associations that provide support and advocacy on behalf of their members. There is also the … Continue reading Stronger Together – Support Your Provincial Association
This year’s Presidential Election in the United States has produced much angst about the current lack of civility in politics. It is almost impossible to avoid the increasing barrage of revelations, mudslinging and attack ads from both sides. As Canadians, we may observe this political slugfest with bemusement or horror, but we should not be … Continue reading Political Civility – Can We Reason Together?
The recent dismissal of Vancouver’s board of education (VSB) by BC’s Minister of Education has created a significant amount of anger, angst and ink. Although the firing of a board is a fairly rare occurrence, it does raise important questions about democracy, the political aspects of trusteeship, and the relationship between boards and professional staff. … Continue reading When a Board Gets Fired – What can be learned?
Sometimes it's the things that are closest to us that we take for granted and notice the least. When it comes to governance and politics it’s often the big “newsy” stories that catch our attention, such as the approaching American election, the Brexit decision, or the Royal Visit, – big stories, big headlines, famous people. … Continue reading Does Local Governance Matter?
In my last post, I discussed government expectations that school trustees should possess specific skills and knowledge to be successful in their governance roles. This raises some interesting questions related to roles, equity and the essence of democracy itself. Democracy When I was the Executive Director of the BC School Trustees Association we argued against … Continue reading Are School Trustees Learners Too?
The theme of this series of blog posts is intra-board relationships and why some trustees don’t get along with each other. While the causes of board disharmony outlined in my earlier posts are perhaps more common, politics – or at least our common misconception of the term – can also be a factor that causes … Continue reading Is it Political? – Part Seven of Can’t We All Just Get Along? Truths and recommendations re intra-board relations
There is an old saying that we get what we deserve - or perhaps what we allow. As discussed in Part 2, you have little control over who gets elected, but a board can have control over how members conduct themselves. Sometimes there is a tendency, particularly with boards from smaller communities or those that … Continue reading Good Processes Build Better Boards – Part Four of Can’t We All Just Get Along? Truths and recommendations re intra-board relations
Although self-evident it is worth repeating – the reason we have publicly elected school boards is to provide the public with a voice in one of society’s most important “public goods” - education. By exercising this right we select individuals from our local communities to represent our interests in public education. To be clear, this is … Continue reading Democracy Rules – Part Two of Can’t We All Just Get Along? – Truths and recommendations re intra-board relations