Edmundston, November 15, 2022 – The reform of the school governance structure in New Brunswick, which was officially launched by the government, December 8, 2021, is on the verge of being completed with the tabling of the bill, in the next few days, for the anglophone sector and in the spring of 2023, for the francophone sector.
The Fédération des conseils d’éducation du NB (FCÉNB) and the Council of District Education Council Chairs (CDECC) are joining forces to inform decision-makers of the bill and the general public of the essential need to maintain independent governance in the school system, for the ultimate benefit of our children and our communities
A “successful” education governance model respects democracy; respects local values and priorities through community involvement (the heart of education); and ensures stability and added value for students, staff and the school system as a whole. As such, the FCÉNB and the CDECC remind us of their following key messages: maintain at least 7 district education councils (DECs), democratically elected, to ensure governance and the contribution of the community (public) in the (public) education system and maintaining the voice of parents and the community in schools through Parent School Support Committees (PSSCs)
The DECs and PSSCs are components of the school system that fully represent the needs and aspirations of the communities. “The regions are in the best position to establish and implement strategies to fill the gaps, if they have the means to do so,” recalls Mr. Levesque, President of the FCÉNB. “Local leaders are experts in their community’s issues and have unique insights into possible solutions”, adds Mr. Petersen, President of the CDECC. Finally, studies have clearly demonstrated that the involvement of DECs increases the educational success of students. It is important that we remember that education is a public service, funded by taxpayers and therefore governance decisions rest with the communities served by this public service. It is also very important we remember that, historically, the path towards centralization has not been a constructive one, as in the case of the health care system, where we went from one board per hospital to one board per health authority, to end up in a complete centralization by eliminating the two health authorities. Patients care has not been improved by centralization. “What makes government leaders think that our kids will better succeed if all decisions are taken in Fredericton?” are wondering Mr. Petersen and Mr. Levesque.
Good governance requires good leadership and good education requires good relationships at all levels. “The time has come to bring everyone together and make room for local democracy, linguistic communities, First Nations and newcomers. Our political leaders must be the facilitators of unification, in education and in society in general,” concluded Mr. Levesque and Mr. Petersen.