Your Local Journal Dear Editor: – February 27, 2014 (“A sign of respect”)

Top marks to former Minister of Education Michelle Courchesne for her inspirational talk and telling it as it is, on Feb. 22, at a webcast meeting from the Pearson board, promoting the upcoming November 2014 school board elections.

Her presentation referred to features of her parent-friendly Bill 88, ” Gouvernance et de la démocratie scolaire,” which became law in the autumn of 2008.

The law was created due to a pathetic voter turnout (7% French; 14% English) in the 2007 school board elections, when about 70 per cent of the seats in the province were acclaimed.

Basically, the law called for the modernization of school board democracy. It would shrink the power of school boards and make the administrative bodies more accessible and more accountable to parents.

The bill considers more parental involvement , more governing board power, and more transparency expected when dealing with the school board.

In fact, the law declares a more significant parental influence, not only at the school governing board, but also, justly provides for a greater number of parents’ representatives at the school board level.

School boards did not like Bill 88 one bit. They preferred the status quo, which, sadly, is still evident today by the lack of openness and school board integrity .

However, law aside, I found Madame Courchesne’s remarks to be most telling.

She said that school boards should accept criticism, and should listen because it is a ” sign of respect.”

She concluded by stating in the final analysis : ” parents are the authority.” Indeed !

In November, think of governing boards , not school boards. Vote for change.

Chris Eustace