Wednesday, November 17, 2004 - Reconsider expense accounts, Toronto trustees told

It is on the education front that the McGuinty Liberal's reach the zenith of hypocrisy. Today's news shows that they don't even understand how school boards are supposed to be managed. - Reconsider expense accounts, Toronto trustees told

Historically, school board trustees in Toronto did get paid on the basis that being a "trustee" was a full-time job. In reality, these people acted as full-time omsbudman - and not as trustees. The old Toronto school board - as a result - spent wildly and delivered little. In fact, before the Harris education reforms, Ontario schools were laggards. Quebec students learned more in 11 years than Ontarion students did in 13. Ontario education was the sizzle (swimming pools, field trips), without the academic steak.

There are still many in Toronto who believe that everything used to be so wonderful with the system. They pine for the days of high-spending and no standards. It doesn't seem to matter that Ontario was at or near the bottom in the SAIP tests. The teachers' unions are hell-bent on removing any useable metrics from the system. It is the unions' deep bias against the intellectual core of school life that has so many Ontarians looking for alternatives.

It is not the role of a Board of Trustees to pursue petty complaints. It is rather to oversee the strategic management of the school board, to:

- appoint and review the performance of senior leaders
- provide guidelines for policies and set the strategic direction
- approve the budget

TDSB trustees appear still to be complaint-chasers and have yet to assume to role of strategic oversight. In my view, TDSB trusrees shouldn't be paid at all. Trustees at a very successful educational instituation in Ithaca NY are not paid. They serve out of devotion.

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