Don’t tar all trustees with same brush
Re Blistering report puts York board on notice, April 12 I want to commend the Star and its 905-area reporters for their excellent work on the very serious problems with the York Region District School Board. Parents and members of the public have known for years that there were problems but the Star’s coverage has focused the investigation and will lead to positive change.
However, I want to point out that the school trustee for Area 1, which includes Markham Ward One and Vaughan Ward 5, is not part of the problem. Susan Geller is a role model for what a trustee should be. We do not want her painted with the same brush as those who hide from transparency and accountability, who are deaf to the needs of minority students and their parents, or who spend thousands of taxpayer dollars on trips abroad that have no apparent benefit to our schools. Marilyn Ginsburg, Thornhill
I side with any and all who want to make the environment in York Region schools more equitable and inclusive . . . that is only right and must happen. But to continue to pillory one individual for an indiscretion committed one time, but repeated in the paper umpteen times, is blatantly unfair. She said her apologies all round, resigned and that should be the end of that episode. Let’s move on and look at the bigger issue. John Ecclestone, Keswick
The serious problems in the York board are not new or unique. They are reflective of a pervasive, systemic problem with the framework of the organization culture that continues to be structured on topdown, bureaucratic and authoritarian principles and leadership approaches constructed in the 1950s. This culture was reinvigorated in the 1990s, as a wave of business-driven managerialism and accountability swept through education.
Despite the recent rhetoric of collaboration, consensus and relationships, the vast majority of school boards continue to be benevolent oligarchies.
Recent reports documenting the problems at the Toronto school board, the CBC and Toronto Police revealed similar difficulties, such as an abuse of power and authority by senior administrators, a culture of fear among staff and political infighting by trustees and board members.
Solving the problems requires restructuring the entire organizational and leadership culture and philosophy in education, placing a strong emphasis on professional autonomy, respect, integrity and equal and shared power. Robert Bahlieda, Newmarket