The TDSB is in the news again. On July 10, the Globe and Mail published an article in which TDSB Director Donna Quan was accused of “ruling by fear” and of engaging in “destructive attacks against Trustees”. The source for many of these accusations appears to have been Margaret Wilson, who was brought in by the Province over six months ago to investigate the TDSB because the Education Minister was concerned about a “culture of fear” among staff.
In case you haven’t been following the goings-on between the Province and the TDSB since late November 2014, here is a “Coles Notes” version:
- Nov. 2014: Former TDSB Chair Mari Rutka requests provincial intervention, alleging that TDSB Director Donna Quan was preventing Trustees from investigating controversial payments and partnerships; and that the Director was not providing a copy of her employment contract to them.
- Nov. 25, 2014: Education Minister Liz Sandals appointed Margaret Wilson to investigate the TDSB, worried about a “culture of fear” and “dysfunction” at Canada’s largest school board.
- Jan. 15, 2015: Margaret Wilson submits her report on the TDSB to Minister Sandals, confirming a “culture of fear” and “dysfunction” at the TDSB.
- Jan. 15, 2015: Minister Sandals issues thirteen directives to the newly elected TDSB Trustees, giving them less than a month to comply.
- Feb. 11, 2015: TDSB Trustees submit their report to Minister Sandals, addressing the thirteen directives she had given to them.
- Mar. 16, 2015: Margaret Wilson’s report prompts the provincial government to set up the TDSB Governance Panel to consult with the TDSB community and make recommendations to the Minister of Education on how to improve the governance structure at TDSB.
- July 10, 2015: Globe and Mail article published, outlining Margaret Wilson’s accusations of the TDSB’s Director, “It’s rule by fear. You pick people off, one by one, which is what classic bullies do.”
- July 13, 2015: Awaiting recommendations from the TDSB Governance Panel, which ran consultations focused on the role that Trustees and the size of the TDSB play in the board’s governance but which did not examine the role that leadership, provincial policies and provincial funding play in governance.
As parents, we want to see a quality education for our children delivered in safe, well-maintained schools. The Province holds power over the funding and all major policies impacting public education in this province. The Province has engaged in a multitude of short-term interventions with the TDSB in recent years, none of which seem to have had significant positive results. As we await the recommendations from the TDSB Governance Panel – the Province’s latest intervention in the TDSB – we, yet again, urge Premier Wynne and Minister Sandals to take the accountability that is commensurate with the power their government has over public education and to start to work with the TDSB to Fix Our Schools.