Should school boards be abolished?

[cross posted at LeaderTalk]

Over the past few years I’ve been hearing people talk about the idea of abolishing school boards in Quebec.

This past week it was in the news again:

Dumont ready to bring down Quebec gov’t over school boards

ADQ Leader Mario Dumont said Tuesday he’s willing to force a confidence vote over the future of Quebec school boards.

The Action Démocratique du Québec is tabling a motion for a confidence vote in the national assembly over the Liberal government’s refusal to abolish school boards.

If the Parti Québécois supports the motion it would be enough to topple Premier Jean Charest’s Liberal minority government, which would force elections in December. ..

…Dumont said the continued existence of school boards is a fundamental issue in Quebec.

School board elections held last weekend failed to draw more than 20 per cent of registered voters — proof it’s time to review their mandate, the ADQ leader said.

The Parti Quebecois did not end up supporting the motion (no one wanted early elections) but I am sure this is not the last we hear of this.

I’m wondering what you think about the idea of getting rid of school boards. The idea behind it is so that money can go directly to schools instead of being spent on the boards’ bureaucratic machines. (Uh oh…did I just give away my bias? ;) )

Some things I imagine…

Imagine if money that was used on school board consultant salaries, for example, was used to support teachers as they consult with each other within their own school communities and across different school communities?

Imagine if some of that money could be used to hire external consultants that a school community could choose based on the specific needs of each school.

Imagine if external consultants had to compete for the privilege of working in a school community – imagine the quality of consulting that would result.

Imagine if teachers were forced to create things like policy about their own practice.

Oh…the places we could go!

Saturday morning fun

Isn’t this fun…what an intuitive test ;) says I'm a Cool Nerd Queen.  What are you?

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A question from Scott Elias

What does literacy look like in your content area?

Ooh…what a great question!
It is difficult for me to pinpoint an answer for this one. I am a high school learning centre teacher. In Quebec, that means I teach students who have language-based disabilities as well as more severe cognitive delays. So literacy is my content area!

My focus lately is on literacy for being active members of a community. What does that look like? To start:

-We can read each others’ names and recognize who they are
-We can read the headlines in the local paper and have a conversation about them
-We can communicate through a variety of technologies, including our blogs, because it makes us feel part of our class community
-We can have discussions around inspirational quotes and proverbs that include examples from our lives
-We can recognize monetary values of coins so we can purchase our bus tickets and lunches
-We can read our own emotions and know the words to use to express them
-We can read some of the emotions in others, through their words and their body language, and we can react to them in a way that makes sense
-We can express a goal and work on a plan to achieve it

That’s what it is starting to look like, at least as of last week. As we continue our year I am hoping that literacy and what it looks like continues to develop in our classroom.

(this post was originally written as a comment on Scott’s blog post My Literacy Question)

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Ethics in the classroom and common ground

I have been involved in a very stimulating conversation on Durff’s blog around the issue of ethics in the classroom.

Both Durff and I agree that ethical behaviour must be stressed in the classroom and modeled by teachers. I think you can tell from our comments that we are both quite passionate about this.

Where our views start to differ is how this is done. You can read about our differing viewpoints in the comments to the original post – what I find interesting is the conversation that has developed.

Ethics is messy – it really does have to do with our own world-views and it can be messy and difficult to talk about the things that really matter to us, the things that hit us in our gut, that touch our values around what it means to be human. The rub in all of this is that we do not all have the same values nor the same world view.

Two of my beliefs related to this topic:

I do think it important – indeed necessary – to create a common ground in order to be able to have conversations around ethics, in order to be able to teach about ethics.

In trying to understand Durff’s insistence on an ethical plumbline, I wonder if perhaps this common ground is something along the lines of what she means.

Such a common ground for me would have to:

What would be important for you to have in this common ground?

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