Here is an interesting article by Eastern New Mexico academic Michael Shaughnessy. Although it is posted in Education News, a U.S. aggregator, it is relevant information for Education Departments in all Canadian provinces and territories who have local school boards and elected trustees.
The piece starts:
“The topic of education governance is becoming a major strand of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s work. That’s because we see so many promising reforms crash upon its shores. Want to equalize funding? Expand school choice? Encourage online learning? Our current governance system—and especially our tradition of “local control”—makes all of this very difficult. We are launching a new three-year initiative, in partnership with the Center for American Progress, to put the issue of governance in the center of the education reform conversation. This panel was one of our first efforts on that front.”
Commentary: I have not done research lately on all ten Canadian provinces and territorities to learn which jurisdictions no longer have the school board structure, apart from New Brunswick, who did away with local school boards in 1996.
However, I can certainly see the value of doing so, quite apart from the funding it would save. In my opinion, the problem is political. Trustees tend to get too close to both senior board administration and teachers’ unions officials. As a result, particulary in small communities where trustees may be negotiating with relatives, it is very hard for them to make the kind of accountable decisions their voters expect. Of course, the argument can be made that without trustees the public has no say at all. Well, actually they do — through their provincial or territorial elected members of parliament.