PISA results shows that the public education system in Canada is working

global citizens handsFEBRUARY 10, 2014:  The 2012 PISA results were released in December .  The “Programme for International Student Assessment”  is run by the Organization for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD).  Testing is done every three years since 2000.  More than half a million 15-year old students from 65 countries take part in studies assessing their abilities in math, reading and science.  While those of us who work in education are always cautious about the weight given to this kind of testing, it is so far, an important indicator of how Canada measures up academically when compared to other countries.  And this year, we learned a bit more about Canada’s learners, outside the usual academic portrait.

Bottom line, Canada does very well in this testing.  With a mean score of 518, we find ourselves in 10th place.  Higher scores ranged from 519 to 613 and were from China, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Finland, Netherlands, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.  Our neighbors to the south, the United States ranked in 33rd place with a score of 481.

While we have dropped a few spots (partly as other countries improved their scores), it is certainly fair to say that education systems in Canada remain the envy of countries throughout the world.  That is not an accident of history.  It is a success built upon the work of locally elected and accountable public school boards for more than a century.

And what school boards realize is that even with success it is always necessary to re-evaluate and improve what we do.  This is why trustees are constantly working together throughout this country to share ideas and best practices that will help our students succeed.

The importance of school boards and the history of their success is not always recognized when provincial governments discuss educational policies.  But it is school boards and their associations that stand up for students in the face of provincial cut backs to education.

The governance of public education in Canada by locally elected school boards and the advocacy by those boards and their provincial associations has resulted in an education system where:

  • More students go on to university and college (51%) than the average of OECD countries (32%).
  • Policies and practices have had a positive impact on the extent to which socio-economic status influences student success, Canada being one of only 8 countries which were able to combine high performance with high levels of equity in education.

The bottom line is that the work of Canadian school trustees have produced a system that works.   It is the efforts of trustees across this country; listening to their communities and creating the policies and environments that encourage our students to succeed.

The Canadian School Boards Association is proud to support this work.

Michael McEvoy

President, CSBA


Ref: PISA 2012 Results in Focus (pisa-2012-results-overview.pdf)

How Canadians Measure Up Internationally (81-590-x2010001-eng.pdf)

Only a week left…!

The 2013 CSBA congress is only week away!   The program is sure to have something for everyone and we hope you can join us for this important opportunity to share and learn from other trustees/commissioners across Canada, as well as experts in the field of education.  We are especially looking forward to sharing with you and hearing your questions at the CSBA AGM and the Cross Canada Check In.   For those planning to attend the Annual General Meeting, you may download and print the 2013 CSBA Annual Report or simply access our website during the session using the wireless connection in the meeting room.    See you in beautiful British Columbia!

We are looking forward to seeing you in July…

BCSTA, hosts of CSBA 2013 have opened registration and hotel reservations for the upcoming conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Go to the congress website here to find out information on speakers, programming, scheduling, tours, etc…everything you will need to know to make your time at the congress a most postive experience.   The theme of this year’s conference is Diversity Matters; in the boardroom, in the classroom, in public education and we have had every indication that we can expect nothing less than a spectacular program this summer.  Make your arrangements soon.  We hope to see you there!

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.


MONTREAL, JANUARY 9, 2013 -  The Canadian School Boards Association is pleased to see the results of the study “School Boards Matter: A Pan-Canadian study of school district governance”  by Bruce Sheppard, Gerald Galway, Jean Brown and John Wiens.

The full report, School Boards Matter; A Pan-Canadian Study of School District Governance   is available along with a CSBA Executive Summary and a list of other studies with complementary reading.

This important and timely study on school district governance, counters recent literature that has called school boards “wasteful hierarchies” and deals head on with political trends affecting public education across Canada.  At the heart of the study, the authors provide convincing evidence that in fact, effective and successful school boards do matter to the education of our children.

The authors draw a strong correlation between effective school boards and successful public school systems and state that “strong and effective boards are essential to maintaining a meaningful and sustainable public school system”.  They provide clear answers to the question “What are the attributes of effective school boards in Canada?”.

This study will be of particular interest to local school board trustees/commissioners across Canada, Provincial School Boards Associations and members of the CSBA Board of Directors.

CSBA President, Sandi Urban Hall welcomed the report and stated, “Boards of education use a wealth of research to strengthen their education practices and decisions. This report gives school boards data that will help strengthen school board governance and as a result, student success”.

For more information, contact the CSBA at valerie.mcleod@cdnsba.org.


MONTREAL, January 2013 –   It was with great sadness that the CSBA received the news from the family of Dr. Roy Wilson, that he passed away peacefully recently from cardio-respiratory issues in Medicine Hat, Alberta.  He was 74 years old.

Roy Wilson was the longest serving school board trustee in Medicine Hat, and the second longest serving trustee in the Province of Alberta.  First elected to the Board of Trustees of School District #76 in 1980, he served continuously from that date, acting as board chairman on three separate occasions.  He was, during the 1990’s, president of both the Alberta School Boards Association and the Canadian School Boards Association.  Dr. Wilson recently completed serving his second term as senator in the University of Alberta Senate.

Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Roy received his B.Ed, M.Ed and Ph.D from the University of Alberta.  His teaching career began in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1960.  He would go on to teach at schools and colleges in Edmonton, Camrose, the Crowsnest Pass and Medicine Hat, retiring in 2003.

He taught over 5000 students in his tenure, and receiving many honours for his work, including the Alberta Home and School Association’s Presidents Award, the Medicine Hat College Academic Achievement Award, the Alberta Centennial Medal for his service to public education in Alberta, Medicine Hat College’s honourary applied baccalaureate degree and honourary life memberships in the Alberta School Boards Association and the Canadian School Boards Association.  Dr. Wilson also authored numerous articles on local and educational history and was involved in the production of several historical videos.

Active for many years in the local, provincial and national Canadian Music Festival movement, Dr. Wilson was also a long-time board member and past Chairman of the board of the Good Samaritan Society.  And while known throughout the province for his contributions as an educator,  trustee and volunteer, his first dedication was to his family.  He was a deeply devoted husband, father and grandfather.

Sandi Urban Hall, CSBA President, noted that “Roy’s contributions to education and to the Canadian School Boards was substantial and greatly appreciated.  He will be missed by all and his legacy will remain with us”.

A new Vice President at the CSBA


For immediate distribution

CSBA Elects a new Vice President

Montreal, August 25, 2012  -  The Canadian School Boards Association is pleased to announce the election of its new Vice President, Jacquie Hansen of the Alberta School Boards Association. The eight presidents of the provincial school boards associations participated in the special meeting for the CSBA Board of the Directors on August 20, following the resignation of Catherine Fife, former Vice President, who left the association to pursue a career in politics.  Ms. Hansen was elected by acclamation to a one year term, beginning immediately and continuing until July 2012.

Jacquie is in her second term as President, having served three previous years as Vice President of the Alberta School Boards Association.   The ASBA serves 62 school boards – public, separate and francophone representing 600,000 students.  She is serving in her 12th year as a locally elected trustee for the Greater St. Albert Catholic School Board where she has served as chair and vice-chair.  She is also an appointed board member of Alberta’s Children Services Ministry (Region 6) advocating on behalf of children and youth at risk.   Jacquie earned a Physical Education degree from University of British Columbia with a minor in English and enjoys music, reading, theatre and the great outdoors.  She and her husband, Dean and four young adult children live in St. Albert where she is actively involved in the community.

Jacquie joins President, Sandi Urban Hall of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association on the CSBA executive.  CSBA plays an important role in advocating for the collective interests of its member provincial associations to other national organizations and the federal government on important educational issues.  The president and newly elected vice president offer an expertise, commitment and determination that will serve the association well in its work in the year ahead.


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