CSBA WORK ON THE ISSUES
The CSBA Board of Directors come from each jurisdiction quarterly to discuss shared issues of national importance. We continue to work on our priority areas: Health and Wellness and FNMI Education as well as the pervasive threat to elected school boards and actions we can take nationally to show the importance and positive impact of their role.
ROLE OF SCHOOL BOARDS – Following last year’s failed bid by the Quebec Ministry of Education to abolish school boards in that province, the Saskatchewan government recently published a study to review structure and the role of governance in Education, raising the possibility that school boards may be abolished in that province as well. The SSBA is waiting for the results of the consultation, but the minister has acknowledged that “the vast majority of the people that took the time to make the submissions were in favour of elected school boards and roughly in favour of the status quo.” Following an amalgamation of 4 boards and being assigned appointed trustees, Newfoundland/Labrador successfully completed their first elections in several years this past November.
FIRST NATIONS MÉTIS AND INUIT EDUCATION – Advocacy activities have been focused on appropriate funding for FNMI education and in offering national support for the AFN initiatives in Student Wellness. The National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation recently brought education leadership together from across Canada, an excellent opportunity for CSBA to develop further relationships that could support boards and continue collaborations towards truth and reconciliation in education. Over the coming weeks, we will provide links/resources from several groups who have new and innovative resources. We will monitor the framework that the federal ministries, INAC and FCSD are putting together on Childcare: for more information, see Beyond baby steps: Planning for a National Child Care System. CSBA will attend The World Indigenous People’s Conference on Education (WIPCE) in Toronto July 24-29th.
STUDENT HEALTH AND WELLNESS – A Charter of Commitment to Student Health and Wellness is being developed in collaboration with several other national groups. The committee is reviewing and will provide recommendations on the education component of the report from the Task Force on the Legalization of Cannabis. We are meeting with the Pan Canadian Consortium on Student Health to establish how we can collaborate with the provincial Ministries of Health on issues of national concern, including concussions and mental health. Our collaboration with Respect in Schools is being developed with a view to providing a ministry supported, national training baseline on abuse, harassment, bullying for all adults who work with youth. Coming soon: the next CEA/CSBA joint publication FACTS ON EDUCATION that provides links to research on the most effective ways to successfully integrate recent immigrants into Canadian classrooms.
COPYRIGHT – We continue to monitor the 2017 Federal review of copyright regulations and the affect changes could have on schools and students, ready to defend “fair dealing” on a national scale.
PROVINCIAL ISSUES WITH POTENTIAL NATIONAL IMPACT :
1) British Columbia: Supreme court ruling
2.) Saskatchewan: Theodore Case (GSSD v. CTTS)
3.) Taxation on Employee Health Benefits: https://www.mercer.ca/en/our-thinking/mercer-response-to-benefits-taxation.html
4.) Manitoba: Funding for First Nations Students
PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM ON THE DEFENCE – It’s not news, even for our colleagues in the U.S., that the role of public school boards is continually being questioned. CSBA is working on providing you with strategies from many sources that educate the public on evidence based research on the benefits of publicly elected governors of the education system. But we must do our own homework. Before someone from government comes to evaluate your effectiveness as a board, visit cdnsba.org for helpful board self-assessment tools and make it a regular practice in policy. Lastly, good trustees are good because they put kids first. Put them at the centre every time you raise your voice to defend democracy and public schools.
- Congress 2017, Whistler, BC – The congress hotel block at the Fairmont is filled, but there are 2 additional, equally close and beautiful hotels still available. Please register soon. Confirmed speakers include Charlene Bearhead, served as the Education Lead with eat National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Mohamed Fahmi, journalist, Yong Zhao, international speaker on innovation in education.
- Next CSBA Board of Directors Meeting: April 29, May 1, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario
Until next time…
Floyd Martens, President, CSBA