The Jig Is Up For Canada’s School Boards


Patrick Case

Document Type

Media Mention

Publication Date


Source Publication

The Globe and Mail


The Ontario Public School Boards Association has a handy explainer on its website for anyone wondering why these archaic entities even exist in 2017. “School trustees play an indispensable role in preserving our democratic heritage,” it says, ignoring the elephant in the classroom.

The truth is that most school boards offer a sorry spectacle of Canadian democracy in action. They cannot even govern themselves, much less look out for the students in their charge. They are plagued by petty ideological battles, personality conflicts, incivility and sheer incompetence.

So few Canadians actually turn out to vote in school board elections that mobilizing your friends and relatives to get to the polls is often enough to become a trustee. If you are strategic and win the backing of a teachers’ union or church group, you are all but guaranteed a board seat for life.