CSBA responds to the AANDC “Blueprint for First Nations Education”

iStock_000003355083MediumWhile we support a new way forward in First Nations education, when CSBA was invited to submit comments to  AANDC regarding the document “Developing a First Nations Education Act: Discussion Guide”, we  clearly expressed our concern that the process used to develop the coming legislation had been far too unilateral in approach, with no attempt to co-develop an education system in true partnership with First Nations.  The subsequent “Blueprint for First Nations Education” released in July 2013 served only to increase our concerns.   In response, CSBA has asked Minister Valcourt to recognize First Nations as a primary or at very least, an equal partner in decisions that will affect their young people going forward, as well as to address other issues such as funding.  The full letter sent to the MInister on behalf of Canadian school boards  is available at Letter to AANDC.


CSBA President Michael McEvoy
CSBA 203 Annual Conference, Vancouver, B.C.

New Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) President Michael McEvoy stated that a strong and united CSBA will support and advocate alongside its provincial partners to safeguard the key role of publicly and democratically-elected school boards.

McEvoy assumed the Presidency before more than 400 school trustees from across Canada attending the Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) http://cdnsba.org/ annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia from July 4-7, 2013.

Many trustees expressed concern at the conference about a growing and worrisome trend by provincial governments to bypass or limit the legitimate role of publicly-elected school boards in delivering quality education and maximizing student success.

The annual conference, hosted by the British Columbia School Trustees Association, offered 450 delegates an engaging and inspiring opening keynote address by the Right Honorable Michäelle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, who reminded delegates of her own personal journey and who gave true meaning to the conference theme, Diversity Matters.

Excellent speakers and presentations on such important CSBA themes as Aboriginal Education, Student Health and Wellness and 21st Century Learning Skills were all explored through the prism of respecting diversity within our public school communities.

For more information contact: Valerie McLeod, Managing Director of CSBA at info@cdnsba.org

School boards address student inactivity

Dr. Mark Tremblay

Only 5 % of Canadian school children are meeting the national physical activity standards.  Dr. Mark Tremblay, an expert in Children’s Health and part of the team that wrote the 2013 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card, will be at the CSBA conference in Vancouver this week to speak to this critical situation and to offer 10 solutions as a starting point for school boards’ discussions.  Student Health and Wellness is a Key Priority for the CSBA and we hope that this Pre-Congress session, which takes place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. on July 4,  will assist trustees and commissioners from across Canada to take an active role in affecting change.

Please visit   http://www.csba2013.ca/index.php/program/july4  for more information on the session or Dr. Tremblay.

CSBA endorses a clear road map for positive, future direction…


A Year of Strategic Planning

When the CSBA congress in July 2012 was ended, CSBA had a new Managing Director, a new President and the knowledge that the many structural changes the Association had made over the past years required us to “regroup”, to redefine our priorities and especially, develop a road map that reflected what each province wanted from us in our role to affect change on behalf of their behalf.  After several meetings, workshops and much discussion, we reconfirmed our mission to support, advocate for, and promote publicly elected School Boards across the country and then worked out a 3-year plan on how we wanted to accomplish that over the coming years.  Our Core Issues for Advocacy include Aboriginal Education, 21st Century Learning and our newest addition on our list of national concerns; Student Health and Wellness.  The 2013-2016 Strategic Plan, adopted at our March meeting is available at CSBA 2013-2016 Strategic Plan.

Canadian School Boards Association is proud to have participated in the Senate Committee on Human Rights report on Cyberbullying, released in Ottawa this past December.

MONTREAL, January 8, 2012 -  The harm caused by cyberbullying is known all too well by Canadians. In fall of 2011, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights Committee was mandated by the Senate to study this important issue and subsequently, conducted hearings with over sixty witnesses, including academic researchers, volunteers, website operators, government departments, non-government organizations, teachers and students.

The CSBA was pleased to be among witnesses called and were able to present several examples of work being done by school boards across Canada.  Present for the day were Sandi Urban Hall, President of CSBA and of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association at the time, David Birnbaum of the Quebec English School Boards Association and Dr. Wayne MacKay, who has done extensive research for the Nova Scotia School Boards Association.

The report,  Cyberbullying Hurts: Respect for Rights in the Digital Age was released this last month, calling for Canada “to meet its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, by taking necessary actions to protect children from all forms of physical and mental violence, including cyberbullying”.   The federal government intends to step in and coordinate an anti-bullying strategy with provincial and territorial counterparts.  The report demonstrates that focus is needed on prevention, through digital citizenship, information and education.  Promoting awareness and supporting initiatives that have proven effective are among the recommendations made, in addition to addressing the need for a national Children’s Commissioner to coordinate effective approaches.   Punitive legal sanctions, – a rising trend across the country – are continually proving less effective.  Said Senator Mobina Jaffer, chair of the committee. “It takes a whole community approach, the teaching of human rights and digital citizenship by parents, teachers, governments and by youth themselves to change online behavior”.  Canadian school boards are an integral part of that community.

In addition to the report, the Committee created a Guide for Youth and a Guide Parents, educational resource guides that offer responses that can help youth, parents, educators and others involved in cyberbullying at any level.  In both of these guides, there is a summary of the six recommendations from the committee also provided.

The report again is available at  Cyberbullying Hurts: Respect for Rights in the Digital Age and the guides for both youth and parents are available at:

Youth Guide:   http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/RIDR/DPK/01Dec12/youth-e.htm

Parents’ Guide:  http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/411/RIDR/DPK/01Dec12/parents-e.htm


CSBA endorses “Shifting Minds: A 21st Century Vision of Public Education in Canada”


The Canadian School Boards Association is excited to endorse “Shifting Minds: A 21st Century Vision of Public Education in Canada“.  Produced by C21 Canada following the C21 Summit in February of this year and released October 4, 2012, this document was developed by a group of fifty educational and business leaders with a view to providing our young people with a new set of modern competencies for success.  As an active participant in this prestigious group and as one of the founding members of C21, the CSBA is proud to be a part of this important initiative which will provide leadership and a much needed framework that will encourage reflection and inspiration for new, innovative and vitally important practises that will support successful student outcomes.

The document is available at “SHIFTING MINDS”

Protecting the Rights of our Children

The Canadian Coalition for the Right of the Child has produced a document on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Canada  ”Right in Principle, Right in Practice“.    CCRC, The Rights of Children.

Listen in on a Webcast discussion between the Canadian Government and the United Nations on September 26 and 27, 2012 at www.unicef.ca/turnupthevolume.

CSBA testifies on Cyberbullying to the Senate Committee on Human Rights

Senate Committee on Human Rights asks CSBA for assistance as they study the impact of cyberbullying

Prof. W. MacKay, NS

D. Birnbaum, QC

S. Urban Hall, SASK.


The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights  are studying the impact of cyberbullying on Canadian youth and are asking various organizations and experts in the field from across North America to testify on the subject and about what is being done to support our young people .  They called upon the CSBA and on May15th, on behalf of the association and the provincial members,  Sandi Urban Hall, President of the Canadian School Boards Association; David Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Quebec English School Boards Association; and Wayne MacKay, professor at Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, N.S., spoke and responded to questions about some of the important work being done by school boards across the country.
Professor MacKay is the author of the paper titled Respectful and Responsible Relationships: There’s No App for That, The Report of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying.
Click here to see Their presentation or visit the Senate of Canada website to see what others partners or education experts had to say….

National Day of Action for Shannen’s Dream

Today marks a National Day of Action to make Shannen’s Dream a reality. Hundreds of students in Ottawa will support this Day of Action by marching on Parliament, demanding the Federal Government to address the issue of educational equity for First Nations students.

Shannen Koostachen was a student activist who advocated for funding equality and safe conditions for First Nations schools, before she passed away in a tragic accident in May 2010.  Funding inequities for First Nations Schools have resulted in conditions of extremely poor quality for First Nations students. Shannen Koostachin’s dream was to attend a new school in her First Nations community of Attawapiskat; she and her classmates attended school in portables in substandard and dangerous conditions, because her school was sitting on toxic land. The community has waited for over ten years for a new school.

The campaign for Shannen’s Dream was initiated by MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay), who introduced Motion 571 “Shannen’s Dream” into the House of Commons. This motion was supported by the CSBA, and calls for First Nations children to have the “right to high-quality, culturally relevant education, transparency in school construction, maintenance and replacement, and funding that will put reserve schools on par with non-reserve provincial schools.”

The issue of equitable funding for first Nations students is of national importance. During this federal election campaign, The President of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, Catherine Fife, states that it is time for all political parties to make a commitment to an equitable approach to education funding.

How can we stand by, watch and do nothing? Standing up for the rights of children, whether or not they live in our community, allows us to confront inequity and, more importantly, involves us in acknowledging that our future as a country is linked with that of First Nations peoples. This is a vision and commitment that has to be defended.

Toronto Star, April 26th

To get involved in Shannen’s Dream and the National Day of Action, see the information provided by First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.




CSBA Presents 21st Century Learning Initiatives to Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

Last week, the CSBA presented to CMEC during their 99th meeting (CMEC 99). This meeting provided Ministers the opportunity to advance work on the priorities outlines in Learn Canada 2020, a guiding framework and joint ministerial statement that focuses on lifelong learning in four areas: early childhood learning and development, elementary and secondary schooling, postsecondary education, and adult learning and skills development.

The Ministers of Education addressed 21st century learning competencies, including critical thinking, information literacy, collaborative learning, and new modes of civic engagement.

The CSBA appreciated the opportunity to present the Association’s 21st century learning intitiative, “Canadian Students as Global Citizens,” defined as:

Canadian students are the world’s citizens, with the potential to make quality contributions to a constantly adapting, fast-changing global economy. Public education must prepare them to meet this challenge.

This presentation and dialogue focused on developing insight and defining a new skill set for the 21st century, as well as the development of a common Pan-Canadian vision for 21st century learning. Provincial associations highlighted those initiatives that are contributing to CSBA’s role and vision of 21st century learning. These included provincial forums in collaboration with Ministries, personalized learning initiatives, action plans and innovative practices in Aboriginal Education, innovative models of  labour relations, promotion of early learning and care, models of sustainable technology and promotion of policy for distance learning infrastructure. In addition, CSBA’s member provinces brought forward their public engagement initiatives with the goal of  promoting and encouraging dialogue around 21st century learning competencies.

The CSBA thanks CMEC for the opportunity to engage in a dialogue surrounding a vision for 21st century learning. We are looking forward to future opportunities to communicate information and take action towards a vision of 21st century learning in Canadian public education.

In addition, CSBA is working towards identifying opportunities for collaboration with national partners in education, with the goal of advancing a vision of 21st century learning for all Canadian students. A large focus of our work is community engagement and information-sharing. To meet this goal, we have new interactive tools in place. We want to hear from you-please send us your feedback by leaving your comment at the end of this post, or via Facebook and Twitter.