Feb 06, 2013- 1:37 PM
It’s notable that so many areas of leadership in our city seem somewhat defiant of becoming more accountable and transparent to the public each serves.
One only has to open a newspaper, watch the news or even chat at a Tim Hortons to see the seemingly resistant transition within our municipal leadership.
What about our very important school boards? They are entrusted to ensure our children are educated, supported and socialized, essentially furthering our social reflection and its betterment.
From arts and physical education, to writing and arithmetic, to bullying and collective awareness, the roles these leaders are assigned is arguably as vital to our homes, our communities and our communal well-being as our elected municipal leaders.
Citizens elect school board leaders at the same time they elect municipal leaders.
Are our school’s elected officials ensuring that the best interests of our children — their development and education — are being supported through their leadership?
One might argue that question is difficult to answer, when applied to the Rainbow District School Board.
The Rainbow board has continued to support some antiquated policies, while also implementing new policies that hinder insurances of public transparency.
Agendas and minutes published online are not annotated. The procedure to collect hard-copy information can be cumbersome and can have monetary value.
Not too long ago, when confronted with parents upset with a school closure, the Rainbow board implemented new policies that encumbered the ability of parents to address concerns or ask questions.
Most recently, when a motion to adopt video recordings of board meetings for public record was put forward, the bulk of elected trustees opposed the initiative, but did not offer any alternatives.
When I personally engaged certain school board representatives — a concerned parent with a child in a Rainbow board school — I was met initially with what seemed like superficial concern.
When I continued to pursue the unease with my child’s enrolment and exposure as a student in a Rainbow board school, the response became more contemptible toward my family — my son, his mother, and myself — rather than considerate of our position and experience.
Struggling to develop a functional partnership with our son’s educators, it was the school’s principal who worked with us to ensure our child’s best interests were acknowledged and addressed. We are grateful for that.
But what about other parents forced to struggle with the gauntlet of policy and procedure that seemingly stonewalls their right to engage and collaborate with the institutions charged with such important authority and leadership?
If those parents do not have an understanding or collaborative principal or teacher, are their children left to be “cogs” within the system?
Our children should never be left without selfless representation or advocacy, and that is what is mostly expected of these elected leaders.
If our school boards’ representatives are resistant to this, then maybe we should engage the candidates more at election time. Perhaps then, those that lead our children will do so more effectively.