COLUMNS: Students come first

Please understand that I have a bias in the teachers vs. school board dispute

Please understand, as you read this rant about the School District 27 teachers vs. School Board dispute, that I have a bias.

I’ve been a teacher, covered school board meetings for several years as a reporter and served as a school trustee, all in this district.

I’ve had family attending local schools consecutively for 58 years — sons, grandchildren and now great grandchildren. There are also two teachers in the family, but not in this district. I have more than a passing interest in education.

The only reason for an education system’s existence is to educate people. Students come first. That means every district decision must have their best interests in mind. Trustees, administrators and teachers have to work as a team to make sure that happens.

Former Premier Christy Clark’s vendetta against teachers damaged the school system, to put it mildly. Those 12 years were difficult, especially for teachers who are the front line and carried the load. It’s taking time for the system to mend, which makes it vital for everyone involved to work together. Parents must be in the loop of course, but when they vote for trustees, they are putting their trust in those representatives to ensure the best outcomes for the children. That’s a trustee’s job.

The school board is in the driver’s seat in a school district. It distributes the funds, sets the policy, provides the leadership — runs the local show.

This is election year. How many of the current board members will stay to deal with the Turner report’s assessment and recommendations? There is one vacancy already, and two trustees have said they’re not running again.

P.S. I believe the days of locally elected school boards are passe, but that’s for another column.

P.P.S. The teachers’ issues began long before last summer’s wildfires.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian and book author.

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