Here is an interesting critique of elected school boards in Canada from the National Post:
“The school district is a political and organizational invention, not a natural and inevitable phenomenon,” Stephen Anderson, a professor at OISE, wrote in a 2003 paper. “It is therefore quite reasonable to question and critique the role that districts can play in promoting and sustaining quality education.”
Indeed – we don’t directly elect people to provide health care, justice or social services. As it is, barely any of us bother voting for school board. It’s never been 100 per cent clear to me, as a childless misanthrope, why I should even be offered a vote. Meanwhile, the curriculum is provincial. And most parents’ problems get created and solved at the school level, not at the board.
If school boards like York got better, a virtuous cycle might take hold: people would value them more and vote in greater numbers, and Ontario’s children would get smarter and happier and fuller of self-esteem. As it stands, we seem to be cycling in the opposite direction. Other jurisdictions do public education very differently. Ontario can too, if it wants.