Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Learning Commission Report 

The Learning Commission has made a valuable contribution to any discussion about K - 12 education in this province. Because it is useful, its limitations should be noted.

The Commission was appointed by the Provincial Goverrnment, which was solely responsible for setting out the mandate of the Commission. School boards, parents, and the general public did not have a hand in determining the mandate.

The mandate of the Commission is to make recommendations to the Provincial Government, which means that the Commission focused on what the provincial government could/should do. In some cases the Commission misdirected its recommendations. It would not be prudent -- good for education -- to have the provincial government do all the things which it has the power/money to do. For example, the Learning Commission recommends that the provincial government should require every school to be a learning community. Such a recommendation is a little like a parent requiring a child to be a good student. Not only does it not work; it usually provokes rebellion that is actually counterproductive.

The weakest part of the Commission's report deals with governance.
From the province's perspective, locally elected trustees are not accountable to the local electorate; they are responsible to the Minister. This is why provincially mandated accountability statements have to be sent to the Department, not published in local newspapers. Similarly, the view of the government is that trustees should be the agent of the provincial government to the local community, not the agents of the community to the provincial government.

Write a letter to your M.L.A. Ask him to put in writing to you a commitment that he considers local government representatives (school trustees and municipal councillors) to be accountable, first and foremost to the people who elected them. Ask her to put in writing to you that she considers it the job of locally elected representatives to speak as forcefully as possible to the provincial government on behalf of the local community. Ask your M.L.A. for an assurance that the government would never bully local government into silence.

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