Always scintillated by the research and reports that non-governmental organizations in Ontario do regarding K-12 education. In the past several days, we've had the updated version of "Sunshine on Schools" released by the Society for Quality Education as well as a report on Ontario's school councils released Monday by People for Education. One got coverage (read: the Star, the Ottawa Citizen as two examples), the other really didn't.
The coverage I've seen seems to skim over some of the more interesting parts of the PFE report, regarding how school councils communicate with parents, as well as with the mandated parent involvement committees (PICs) that exist at the board level. PICs get cash from the provincial government based on the board's student population, that is supposed to be used for activities that support increased parental involvement in schools. The report also appropriately speaks to the research showing that parental engagement (read: being involved in your child(ren)'s school) has a positive impact on student achievement.
The focus? Fundraising. Again, given PFE released its report on fundraising earlier this year, perhaps it was the easiest thing to write about. School councils report that while they'd like to be doing more of all the other things they're supposed to be doing (check the regulation), they spend most of their time on fundraising. If that's so offensive, then why not just stop? No one -- except perhaps school council members themselves -- is putting pressure on these bodies to fundraise. It's tradition, certainly, in the case that many school-council predecessors existed solely for the purpose of fundraising to support the things parents wanted in their schools.
But I come back to the question-- if fundraising is the 'dirty evil' that's an anathema to these school councils, then why do they keep doing it?
The PFE report offers no insight into this. Perhaps it's a question for next year's study.