Why do school boards matter? Why is it important to have democratically elected governing boards in public education?
While provincial governments fund public education through taxes, and oversee the public school program, democratically elected governing school boards play a critical role in the delivery of public education.
School boards are an important part of Canada’s political landscape and represent democratic participation in public education. They partner with communities and provincial governments, and have done so for decades, evolving over time. Canadian school boards have helped build an equitable, accessible, publicly funded education system.
In addition to the value of democratic representation in public education, governing school boards are a link between the community and the provincial government. They act as navigators for families and the public when they have questions or concerns about their schools. They advocate for education funding and highlight the importance of equitable access to education regardless of where students live in their province. And above all, they care about students and the future of education.
Governing school boards enable local decision making in response to local needs. By having their finger on the pulse of their communities, elected school board members or trustees know what their students, schools, and communities need because they are members of the communities themselves. With regional representation, communities have better access to the resources required to meet the needs of their students.
The Manitoba School Boards Association produced a great video highlighting the important roles of school board trustees. Check it out HERE!
For academic research about school board governance, read the publication “School Boards Matter.”
National School Boards Association Executive Director and CEO, Tom Gentzel, recently wrote to the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec in support of their efforts to preserve democratically elected school boards for majority French language schools in Quebec. Read his letters here: Letters to Alain Fortier and Dan Lamoureux