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White Elephant School Boards

November 21, 2014 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 08:05 AM

Sometimes things created for an earlier reality, for example cabooses, outlast their usefulness. School boards are a case in point. When they were created 150 years ago, there was only one school board per school, usually in a rural area, and it served as a democratic way to ensure that each school reflected the wishes of its community. But in the 150 years since then, the balance between rural urban schools has dramatically tipped in favour of urban schools, and a series of amalgamations have resulted in school boards that try to oversee up to 600 schools. This has proved to be mission impossible for school boards, and as a result bit by bit the province has stripped away the school boards' powers - to the point that virtually their only function is to get blamed by the provincial government when things (inevitably) go wrong.

These days, most school boards are non-democratic, powerless, and a waste of money. For a thorough treatment of this development, see this column by Konrad Yakabuski about school boards in general and the Toronto District School Board in particular. 

With modern telecommunication abilities, it would be quite feasible to abolish school boards and make every school in the province autonomous and governed by its own democratically-elected school board. 

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