The Ontario Public School Boards Association has a handy explainer on its website for anyone wondering why these archaic entities even exist in 2017. “School trustees play an indispensable role in preserving our democratic heritage,” it says, ignoring the elephant in the classroom.
The truth is that most school boards offer a sorry spectacle of Canadian democracy in action. They cannot even govern themselves, much less look out for the students in their charge. They are plagued by petty ideological battles, personality conflicts, incivility and sheer incompetence.
So few Canadians actually turn out to vote in school board elections that mobilizing your friends and relatives to get to the polls is often enough to become a trustee. If you are strategic and win the backing of a teachers’ union or church group, you are all but guaranteed a board seat for life.
That will allow you to travel to Europe on the taxpayers’ dime to participate in “exploratory learning opportunities” no matter how farcical that description. It will allow you to throw your weight around, bully board staff and swear a blue streak at the office with relative impunity.
Sure, the pay’s not great. But you can’t beat it for the free trips, be they of the European or power variety.
That is, until someone higher up clues in to the obvious: You need adult supervision. (more...)