Education Governance Reform

The Government of Saskatchewan recently released a study commissioned from Dan Perrins called Educational Governance Review Report, Kindergarten to Grade 12. The first 21 pages of the report are pretty straightforward: there’s a need in Saskatchewan to centralise administration for our dozen-and-a-half school divisions, and to ensure school boards are using best practices for efficient, responsible, transparent educational governance. Centralised administration would be a blessing as there is no one system used across school divisions for things like student records, course offerings, etc.. Shared administration is often a great cost-saving measure, provided it’s done in full consultation with the people who’re going to be using it and depending on it.

Except for the part where the document talks about replacing elected school boards with boards appointed directly by government. That’s just a bad idea all around. Where’s the local representation? Where’s the local accountability?

The rest of the document outlines four options the Government of Saskatchewan might consider going forward. Each of those four options is predicated on school division amalgamation. Amalgamation blows. The last time we went through a round of amalgamation (2006), we lost a number of rural schools (actually, we didn’t *lose* them; they’re just closed, which means people won’t stay in those towns or move to those towns). The process was time-consuming, extremely costly, and it’s only been in the last 2-5 years that we’ve really been able to regain our focus on what’s most important in education: education and students.

Amalgamation doesn’t save a lot of money. Not the kind of money the SK Government is looking to save. It costs people their jobs, and it costs students. I’m sure there are horror stories about the 90 minutes students have to spend on the bus each day just to get to and from school. I know the last time we went through this, the upheaval was painful.

This time around, the government is looking for public input. But here’s the catch – you only have until 23 January. There’s a website and an email address (K12govconsultations@gov.sk.ca ) where you can send in your thoughts, and of course, preferably, you can write to your MLA. I did both – I wrote to my MLA and I sent in these comments to the public consultation email account.

Whether or not you agree with my position on what’s going on, please contact your MLA and send your thoughts about these proposed reforms to the public k-12 governance system.

  2 comments for “Education Governance Reform

  1. 20 January 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Local school boards are a joke here in the States, but the thought of the government appointing people to them is worse.

    On the other hand, there is currently little in the way of removal of demonstrably bad teachers.

    People care about their communities and their children, but the people who run for the boards are total strangers evey time I have to vote. An awful lot of public money gets wasted.

    I won’t opine on your schools – not my business – but in these days of MIT having all its courses online and such, you’d think people would be able to keep their local schools open. They don’t use the internet effectively in most schools. Teachers could be resource people, if the kids controlled their own learning.

    Probably dreaming of what I would have loved.

    • 21 January 2017 at 5:51 pm

      We have the added challenge in our province of not having Internet service in a quarter of it and not having *reliable* and/or affordable Internet service in a third of it. Our schools use the Internet as much as they can and our teachers are excellently educated, trained, and fairly well paid. I certainly wouldn’t want to see the structure of our public education system change.

      We have a number of Montessori-style schools and a fair number of home schoolers, who have adequate support. The standards are pretty high for educational and curriculum equivalency too.

      What we see is that the only way you don’t know who’s running for the school board is if you’re not active at all in the community. Our school board members are accessible, well-known people for the most part. At least that has certainly been my experience.

      If I’ve ever had to talk to a school board member, they’ve been FAR more responsive than the people I’ve had to talk to who’ve been appointed by govt to the board they’re sitting on.

      Totally anecdotal “evidence” there, and so not meant as proof of my point but rather as my own personal experience.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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