This week Bill 177 entered it's second reading. For those who haven't heard of Bill 177 it is an act to amend the Education Act. The amendments are as follows:
- Trustees and educators will be responsible for enhancing student "achievement". Not only is achievement an arbitrary statement that educators will have difficulty interpreting, it completely rewrites the job description of our trustees and educators. Their focus will be on test scores and credit accumulation rates rather than their previous mandate of education and learning (more individualized approaches).
- Bill 177 severely undermines trustees' ability to advocate on behalf of student, parent and community interests. The bill proposes that "a member of a board shall support the implementation of any board resolution after it is passed". Further, if a trustee can be sanctioned if he/she continues to advocate for constituent's interests after the board disapproves.
- Trustees will lose the ability to oversee the work of their employees. Bill 177 states that trustees will "refrain from interfering in the day to day management of the board by its officers and staff". Consequently, the staff really don't have to worry about being held accountable.
- the Director becomes the boss. The director, who is not an elected official, is able to file adverse reports on the trustee AT WILL. The evaluation of the trustee will no longer be in the hands of electorate. Voters are essentially being silenced.
OSSTF, Elementary School Teachers, School Board Trustees and parents from across the province are calling for public consultations into these amendments because they have such a significant impact on the focus of education, the powers of democratically elected officials, and the participation and voice of the electorate.