Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to judge a School Board candidate - by their record

With Trustee elections less than a month away, my usual frustration is mounting over how little "accountability" there is for School Board Trustees.

Every Trustee candidate I know would proudly say that they "support public education". That they will "stand up for schools and communities". That they will be "advocates".

Sorry. That's not good enough. I hear those phrases from the 1% when they are in fact trying to pass policies that do exactly the opposite.

So my advice to anyone out there thinking about who to vote for? Watch what they DO, not what they SAY. Huge difference.

Let's take Victoria Trustees for example.

Probably all 13 running for School Board would say they support "quality" education. Many would say they support "small classes" and "supports for students". But the raw reality is this:

Only ONE....that's right ONE Trustee actually voted AGAINST a class organization that included HUNDREDS of classes that exceed School Act limits. That one was Catherine Alpha.

Despite their "progressive" leanings and profession of supporting teachers, students and schools, not a single other incumbent Trustee insisted that class sizes and class composition in Victoria schools should stay within the legislated limits by voting against the class organization report (the limits are 30 students, no more than 3 with special needs). Not even the candidates (Peg Orcherton and Bev Horsman) who were endorsed by the Labour Council would stand up for kids and classroom conditions and insist that legislated limits are adhered to by voting against the report.

It's very easy for candidates to say all the things they know that you want to hear...right around election time. Be careful and insist on the facts. Only voting records and their actions in public office tell the true story.

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