Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad
'A tough commitment'

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 21/01) - Nowhere do parents have a bigger stake in government than in the schools their children attend.

That stake was not reflected in the participation in the last set of school board elections, just over a year ago.

There were just enough candidates to fill the public school slate. The deadline for nominations for the Catholic school board had to be extended because of a shortage of candidates.

Public school board chair Dan Schofield and vice-chair Terry Brookes were the two members of the previous board who agreed to another term.

Schofield told Yellowknifer he came back to complete unfinished business, and one item in particular: achievement tests.

"I'm very keen on reporting back to the public about the results their kids are getting in our classrooms," he said. "I think it's very important that a parent feels very confident that their child is learning at the level they should be. That's key. Everybody learns, but are they learning at the level they should be?"

The first set of achievement test results, gauging grades 3, 6 and 9, were released in October. They indicate there is plenty of work to do. For one thing, four out of 10 Grade 9 students failed the math portion of the test.

Ensuring the students who attend the city's six public schools get a quality education is a tall order for a part-time board.

"It's a tough commitment, in the sense of time, a lot of meetings, a lot of responsibility, a lot of decision-making and ... you'll never please everybody," Schofield said.

"I think sometimes it's that level of pressure, that level of commitment that scares people away. It is a very, very serious undertaking."