The decision by the Near North District School Board to move Grade 7 and 8 students into the embrace of the Parry Sound High School is just one more example of a board of directors and an administration focused on fixing its myriad of messes through strong-arm politics. Can’t figure out how to make the super-school get off the ground? Empty classrooms at Parry Sound High School?
Gee, let’s just move those grades seven and eight kids to the high school - that will fix the problem.
More and more we are seeing the politics of expediency trump community consultation, research and the wellbeing of our children. Do Parry Sound families and their children not merit an open discussion surrounding this contentious move? At the very least, do Parry Sound parents not deserve to know how this experiment has worked in other northern schools? How it will be implemented locally?
Beyond their immediate concerns, where is the solid research that shows such a decision would be good for our children? The last time I looked the board of education and its administrative minions were in the business of education, which presupposes that someone in North Bay actually knows how to research an issue. What is the case for this decision? Or has the only research that has been done by the well-paid flunkies at the top concentrated solely on dollars and cents?
To add insult to injury, the only benefit to students i.e. the much-vaunted access to a broader selection of courses, will not be available to students in schools outside of Parry Sound.
As a community member I would have some serious concerns with respect to this decision. It is already clear that the Near North Board sees Parry Sound High School as a problem. The last 10 to 20 years has seen an increasingly authoritarian ethos creep into the administration of the school; less interest in the creation of a stimulating learning environment and more emphasis on minding your p’s and q’s. Now we are about to shove even younger children into this environment?
For me, the decision is just one more example of how communities and the Canadian public in general has become further and further left out of the decision-making process. From the top to the bottom, important decisions that will affect our lives are being made without discussion or debate. Want to ram a lot of legislation through without actually examining whether it’s good for the country or not? Hey, that’s what an omni-budget is for. You just cram everything into a “budget” bill and do what you want. Make cuts to spending? Canadians don’t need to know where or why. Only that silly Parliamentary Budget Officer seems to want to know...and maybe those Albertans who are suffering from e-coli.
I hope parents in this community do not accept the top down decision-making that is happening at the Near North Board.
This is the time to call our leaders to account. If this is such a good decision for our children, let’s hear the evidence.