This post is in response to a tweet by @Mrwejr about an article by Jane Steffenhagen from the Report Card in the Vancouver Sun about parent involvement in school/education. It is about a school board not dealing with a parent advisory group because it did not have representation from enough schools. Should there be qualifications on representation? This is more from an Ontario perspective.
The Ontario Education Act provides guidelines/outlines how School's Advisory/Community Councils and Board's Parent Involvement Committees are to be structured and function. There is flexibility on the composition/representation on the councils/committees. The Act does state that the majority of members must be parents and what constitutes a quorum. I guess it would be within the by-laws and procedures to determine how the councils/committees would determine minimum representation and how it would function below this level. Does it still have a voice?
On School Councils do two or even one parent give voice? Why is there only one voice? Are there other avenues to provide input? Is the input appreciated or just participation show dressing? Ever School and community is different so every school council is going to be different. Are school councils a voice or action? Each school council must find their way. A voice is a voice but is it representative?
Parent Involvement Committees (PIC) are officially new to Boards although they may have existed previously in some boards in another form. PICs must be clear on their mandate and not to create another level of bureaucracy. Boards can determine how parent representation is determined on the PIC. Is it by selection board wide or by regions? Are members elected by regions or schools? Or is it who volunteers? Are these members to represent their own views or those views of their school or region? Ultimately it should be what is best for all. As with school councils when does representation/voice not be representative? Why is their no representation/voice? What Are PICs To Do?
There is no secret success that works for all School Councils and Parent Involvement Committees. Each has their own strengths and visions. The sharing of best practices and ideas can only help parents that want to be involved. I will leave you with this post by @SheilaSpeaking 'That's It I'm Done'
Don't worry I will be returning to this topic and related ones in the future. This is an area that deserves much attention. Robert