Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bluewater update No. 17

Further to some commentary after the last update on the letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty requesting an inquiry: the Sun Times did publish an article on the squabbling between the local MP and MPP regarding what's been happening at the board.
(MPP Bill) Murdoch said he sees no great problems within the board, and he asked Miller "not to get involved" last spring.
"There was no problem here. It was a made-up problem by (MP) Larry Miller and the newspaper and a handful of people," Murdoch said in an interview Thursday. "I think it's terrible what's went on. The media and Larry Miller have cooked this all up and blamed the board."
While education is a provincial, not federal, responsibility, Murdoch, the longtime Progressive Conservative MPP, said he has been silent throughout the controversy both because it's not his job to criticize officials elected in another level of government and because Miller stepped in.
Miller said yesterday he was not interfering in provincial politics, but responding to a problem within the board and within his riding. Education funding and the question of whether McGuinty should launch an investigation are provincial matters and Miller said comment would be inappropriate.
"I'm not touching that. But the issue of accountability, intimidation and all the other crap that goes with it is coming from Bluewater school board and it's in my riding and I've been approached by a huge amount of people," he said. "Yes, education is under the provincial government. This isn't just about education. It's a localized issue. I think most people understand that."
All of which is fine and lovely. It ignores the bigger item here and what should remain a priority for the time being-- implementation of the recommendations in the report released in the fall. This, to borrow from Miller, is smoke and mirrors.


Anonymous said...

Nothing like watching politicians trade snipes at each other.


HBO said...

In the opinion of those that read and write here, how bad is BWDSB? When compared to other boards how do we fare? What are the biggest problems?

Anonymous said...

HBo - you raise good questions. Re: "When compared to other boards how do we fare?

I think it's time we let a forensic auditor loose on all boards in Ontario.

If you want to compare to see why visit the Society of Quality Education's website and take a good look at Sunshine on Schools.

Anonymous said...

Define the standards for good or bad, and we can have a useful debate.

Education Reporter said...


Could these concerns exist at other school boards? Definitely. Who's checking and holding them accountable? I do what I can to hold the boards I cover accountable, do you?

Anon 13 Jan. 15:04
I don't know how useful a forensic accountant would be for every single school board. If there are concerns about controls and spending, then order 'em up. A blanket review would waste more money than it might save.

As to SQE Sunshine on schools... it's a pretty weak to try and link the number of six-figure salaries, EQAO and other data to whether there is any financial malfeasance at a board. The probability of financial wrongdoing among who earn less than six figures with excellent test score is just as high or low as elsewhere.

Further, BWDSB concerns weren't financial at their core. It was governance, transparency and accountability. Not money.


Anonymous said...

Agree ER,

I do believe boards, that is, elected representatives of school boards run a real risk of becoming obsolete if they don't start a serious PR campaign on why they're important and how what they do influences those students in those classrooms.

I'm not talking about boards admin. writing script or making trustees jump through procedural hoops either.

A very public connection between trustee and community needs to be re-established in many boards I think.

As for Bluewater, ER raised a good point that there's been little to no follow-up as to how the board is supporting the recommendations that were the result of the gov't fix-it report and the surveys.

My worry would be that if the same trustees run again and get elected again, the critics will ramp-up in a big way.

Their Catholic boards must be just sitting back taking it all in.

I predict the end of school boards as we know them within 10-12 years.

Anonymous said...

ER(or anyone else),

Where would a person go to see, read about the other side of the Mended debate? Seems to me that if there is another side and the folks at Mended a minority at this board that we should be reading reams in support from those who support the board...but I'm coming up empty.

What I also question is the staff/employee health survey they speak of at Mended - who can we believe when there's nothing to show the public re: the results of the survey. If the survey was conducted with privacy issues in mind that should have been front and centre. However, it seems that that wasn't the case.

Were the Ministry folks sent to fix things to advise on the surveys? That's not clear.

Or was is the former admin. from the Thames Valley board who facilitated?

More questions than answers from me I'm afraid.


Education Reporter said...


Peggy Sattler's firm did the community survey and she facilitated the public meetings. I don't know how much she/the firm was involved beyond that.