School councilors should focus on education, not politics

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Commentary

Board of Education councilors have an important role to play. They need to ensure that their students have a quality education.

To achieve this, we need to make some very important decisions. The Board of Trustees is responsible for budgeting, hiring district leaders, choosing the right education program, and providing students with bus transportation. Being a trustee is a serious endeavor and parents have all the right to expect them to stay focused on their key role.

Unfortunately, some councilors seem to be more interested in politics than in work. This is nothing more obvious at the Waterloo Regional Municipal Board of Education (WRDSB). Here, last year, the Board of Trustees offered object lessons about what. No do.

For example, last October the Board of Trustees embarked on the largest make-up project in its board history. This is a complete review of all books in every elementary and junior high school library and is “inappropriate” or “harmful” material for students.

Not only was this initiative a huge waste of staff time and money available for more productive things, but it also led to a truly disastrous board of directors with one of the teachers involved.

In January, Carolyn Burjoski, a WRDSB teacher with over 20 years of experience, appeared on the board as a delegation. Burjoski reads sexually explicit excerpts from two books from the WRDSB Library, simply assuming that the Board is seriously interested in erasing library books that contain inappropriate content. I did.

Instead of taking her concerns seriously, Board Chairman Scott Piatkowski accused Burjoski of violating state human rights law and immediately stopped her presentation.

Piatkowski was exposed to a defamation proceeding by publicly accusing Burgioski of making “hateful” statements. Not surprisingly, Burjoski is currently suing Piatkowski and the rest of the board for $ 1.75 million.

What made the night worse was the fact that the board held the entire meeting at Zoom, even though public health regulations at the time allowed direct meetings. If the board was held directly, it could be chilly because it would be much harder for nuances to discuss important controversial topics at Zoom meetings.

Earlier this month, WRDSB became even more absurd when it suspended councilor Mike Ramsey for violating the Board’s Code of Conduct. However, the board refused to publish information on why Ramsey was suspended.

According to Ramsey, when the board retweeted an article criticizing how Carolyn Bourjoski’s presentation was processed, he was suspended because the trustee didn’t like it. Ironically, this is where Ramsey, the only non-white councilor on the board, votes for a draft requesting more information on how critical race theory is taught at WRDSB schools. It meant that it was virtually eliminated.

Obviously, there is a serious problem with the WRDSB board. One possible reason is that the trustee is more interested in putting himself in a higher level of political status than actually managing the school.

For example, in recent local elections, two WRDSB councilors were unable to run for NDP. Meanwhile, the president, a former president of Waterloo’s NDP Members Association, was unable to run for the party twice in previous federal elections.

When school councilors use their position as a stepping stone to senior officials (or as a prize of comfort when they can’t beat anywhere else), it’s not surprising that they make bad decisions about education. That’s what we can expect from people who didn’t really want the job in the first place.

WRDSB is a particularly bad example of poor governance, but there are many other Canadian boards of education that are also dysfunctional. Given the importance of education to a healthy society, we have the right to argue that the school board works effectively to achieve its goals.

Anyone thinking of becoming a school councilor this fall must ask himself why he wants this position. If potential trustees are focused on honing their progressive goodwill rather than doing the hard work of improving the public education of Canadian children, they are doing something else. You need to find out.

Public education is too important to be governed by mediocre politicians who do not prioritize student needs.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Michael Zwagstra

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Michael Zwaagstra is a public high school teacher, senior researcher at the Frontier Public Policy Center, and author of “The Sages on Stage: Common Sense Thoughts on Education and Learning.”

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