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
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?
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
The two previous posts focused on the value of establishing a code of conduct and a set of meeting procedures early in the board’s term. Achieving clarity on the board’s goals for the coming term is also an important component to decrease the likelihood of board disharmony. Most boards go through a strategic planning exercise … Continue reading Goal Clarity – Part Five 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
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
As publicly elected representatives, the primary responsibility of boards of education/school boards is to improve student achievement in their communities. They reflect the education priorities and unique requirements of these communities by establishing policies, bylaws, district-wide plans and annual budgets. Throughout its term a board will be faced with many issues requiring informed decisions. … Continue reading Informed Board Decision Making