2018-2019 COMMITTEE REPORTS Reports This year a major focus for the CSBA has been national advocacy for democratically elected local voice in public education. While the association has always advocated for public education and democratic governance, attention has been given to raising awareness of the roles and responsibilities of trustees and the threats to quality education when this local voice is reduced or lost. The need for a national approach, with support provided to individual provinces, came as we started to see shifts in the relationships between governing school boards and provincial governments. In some provinces such as British Columbia and Saskatchewan, the district school boards and provincial association enjoy a very productive and positive relationship. In other provinces such as Quebec, the relationships have been strained as debates continue about the need for governing boards in both English and French, and Nova Scotia, where this voice has been eliminated with concerns already evident. The advocacy strategy is a living document, prepared by both trustees and communications staff from provincial associations. It is both proactive and reactive in nature as the climate continues to change in each province and in Canada as a whole. The CSBA understands there are two different and important approaches when advocating for school board governance – on the national stage and on the provincial stage. Of particular importance is advocacy at the regional and community level. The core of the strategy is centred on the importance of democratically elected trustees to govern public education as a member of the education community. Our messaging supports collaboration, calling for all partners to work together in support of education and students. The strategy largely depends on the individual trustees’ willingness to share publically the importance of their roles on governing school boards. Nationally, the CSBA will continue to find opportunities to talk about governing school boards with media, government and education partners; however, speaking with community members is vital. The advocacy strategy has been developed with the input and support from CSBA board of directors and provincial association communications staff. The strategy addresses the current demand for transparency, and for trustees to be involved in their communities, speaking with people about education on a regular basis. A main goal of the strategy is for the CSBA and school board trustees to connect with communities and educate them on the work and role of elected trustees. We want these relationships to flourish, and we want to apply pressure to provincial governments to maintain and work with governing school boards to enhance public education. Advocacy Committee The longest-lasting and most fundamental responsibility of school boards is to bring the voice of the public to publicly funded education for the benefit of all students and to provide a transparent and accountable education system.