Second part of my platform: protecting local control of local education

Posted: September 9, 2010 in Platform
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After improving 2 way communications between the Board and the communities it serves,  protecting local control of local education follows in terms of my priorities if I am elected.

Our public school system is under pressure like never before. Programs are being curtailed. Or programs are being cut altogether in some schools. Sometimes even schools are closed. And our children pay the price. I personally know a couple of little girls who were devastated by the closing of McGregor Easson Public School.  We should not alllow this to happen again.

Our Public School Board cannot really be blamed for this. They have been subject to the whims of  a provincial master that has downloaded, offloaded and taken an increasingly command and control approach to local education. Dwindling funds have forced the Board into, what have been at times, no-win situations.

Bill 177 is symbolic of this usurping of local control over local education. This Bill, currently before the legislature, will hamstring Trustees like never before. The Director of Education essentially becomes the Board’s “boss”. The Ontario Public School Boards Association notes that:

A pervasive theme in many of the provisions that diminishes the role of trustees and erodes their status as individuals democratically elected to office and as a board of trustees.

Read the Bill here and tell me what you think.

What can I offer up to help preserve and protect local governance over education?

– When I was a municipal Councillor, I was never afraid to stand up to Queen’s Park when undue provincial interference worked against the interests of my constituents. I would do likewise as your Trustee.

– My day job requires that I be adept at dealing with the media and users of our products. I have to be able to negotiate arrangements that are beneficial for everyone. This skill would be valuable when dealing with the province.

– I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance that I personally attach to local governance.  It is the local citizenry who are best able to make decisions about the direction of education in their communities – not a Ministry of Education employee in Toronto.

Stay tuned over the coming days for the next part of my platform: innovative thinking and acting.

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