Monthly Archive for October, 2008

101 Reasons to Abolish School Boards

 

I am compiling 101 Reasons to Abolish School Boards.  To see the ongoing discussions on the topic and the Reasons as they are developed, see my site:

http://abolish-school-boards.org

101 Reasons to Abolish School Boards

1.  An unnecessary level of government
2.  Politics of lay acquiescence – trustees become tamed for establishment purposes.
3.  Conflict of interest abounds – many trustees are educators or ex, or even ex teacher union leaders.
4.  Trusteeship is often used as a stepping stone for politicians-in-training.
5.  School Boards are Obsolete – outlived their usefulness.
6.  Influence peddling has no place in school board business.
7.  Parent rights in education is a taboo topic in school boards.
8.  School Boards are a great field resource to study incompetency.  The saying: “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence” was “discovered in the Vancouver School Board system.
9.  School Boards and other public education bodies love to hear speakers who denounce standards.  Do they give equal time for those supporting standards?
10.  School Boards should not be running recreation classes for adults.

More to follow…..see above site…..
 

Campaigning to Abolish School Boards

 

(Below are my background notes for the 2 minute presentation taped for local TV.  I don’t know how the final will look or sound.  Air time (Cable 4) for West Vancouver candidates are:  Sat Nov 1, 8-9:00 am & Sun Nov 9, 6:30-7:30pm. I’m running for School Board in West Vancouver, Canada, Nov 15/08.)

The last time I ran for School Board Trustee in West Vancouver was in 1975 and I ran then as a parent of 2 young students in the school system.  I wanted to make things better for them and others in West Van schools.  I did not get elected.

Now I’m running as a grandmother, 33 years later, and in all that time I do not see things having improved….responsiveness to student needs, relationships with parents don’t seem to have improved…parents are still frustrated and families are still not meaningfully involved in governing their schools or successful in pushing for achievement goals.  In fact, things are worse, more complex, more entangled than ever…..

I’m running not for power or to sit for 3 years at symbolic school board meetings.

I’m running in order to have conversations on issues with people during this election period.

The main issue I present is that of the relevancy of the school board system itself.  I see the school board as an unnecessary 4th level of government.  Why do we cling to the large central control institution of school boards when we have the successful model of independent schools where parents govern their own schools?  Or we can try the charter school model where teachers and parents govern an autonomous school.

If school boards were abolished we would achieve enormous cost savings, perhaps to the amount of $1,000 – $2,000 extra per child which could either go to all students or dedicated to serving special needs.

Other issues are community education.  Should school boards, for example, run Yoga and quilting courses? No.

Should school boards recruit and educate international students — for profit?  No, that is not their mandate.  Leave that to the private sector.

Other issues I want to discuss with people are vouchers and tuition tax credits.  What about the idea, in the name of transparency, of having the board post online their cheque registry of ALL expenditures?

Basically, my belief is that the best decision-making is that done closest to the individual and in the case of education, closest to home.  That means having the family as closely involved in choices and decisions in education as possible. 

The best model for school governance is local autonomy, therefore we don’t need school boards.  Phone me or visit my website:  http://abolish-school-boards.org

 

School Boards are Obsolete

Continuing my listing of 101 Reasons to Abolish School Boards (See:  http://abolish-school-boards.org)

5.  School Boards are Obsolete

      ‘These institutions served their purpose well in the past. But it is clear that the larger and more bureaucratic they become, the less they are able to fulfill the basic goal of providing a high-quality education. They tend to be dominated by educational elites who serve other goals. Elections have turned into pro forma exercises that mock the purpose of democratic control. School boards also seem incapable of guaranteeing high academic standards. They are now failing to provide children, their parents or taxpayers with enough value to justify their existence.’ 

Recommendation #1 of “Are School Boards Obsolete: Low voter turn out, rising costs, time to move on…?” by Dennis Owens for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Oct 01/1999)