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
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
In November 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) made a landmark ruling in favour of the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF). The court confirmed that in 2002 the BC provincial government violated the teachers' constitutional rights when it removed class size and composition language from their contracts. The result will be an opening of the … Continue reading Court Decisions, Smaller Classes and What Research Can Teach Us
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 Part One of this series I outlined the challenges and ineffectiveness of traditional performance review processes for School Superintendents. While this begs the question of why bother doing them at all, there are beneficial and necessary reasons to do performance reviews, provided they are done well. Many school boards have performance reviews written into … Continue reading Part Two: Why Bother with Superintendent Performance Reviews?
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
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
When I was the Executive Director of a provincial association supporting publicly elected school trustees one of the more frequent calls for assistance would be about intra-board relations – trustees not getting along with each other. These calls would often spike at the beginning of the term, with newly elected trustees sometimes rocking what was … Continue reading Introduction – Part One of Can’t We All Just Get Along? Truths and Recommendations re Intra-board Relations