Strengthening School Governance
Prepared for the SSTA by Denise Kouri
SSTA Research Centre Report #99-01: 35 pages, $11
 
Table of Contents
Introduction  
1. The Governing Board 
2. Governing through Policies  
3. Board and Program  
4. Board Information Needs  
5. Making Decisions  
6. Board and Management  
7. Accountability and Representation  
8. Board Development
What makes trustees good governors?   The Saskatchewan School Trustees Association commissioned the development of this handbook to encourage school trustees to reflect on effective educational governance practice. The handbook presents ideas and recommendations from various analysts and writers on governance and applies these ideas to the field of education.  It addresses the question of what makes trustees good governors. The handbook does not advocate strongly for one point of view over another, but presents alternative strategies for school trustees to consider.  Eight main topics in the handbook include what it means to be a governing board, the advantages and different ways of governing through policies, the special nature of the board's information needs, new approaches to making decisions, different approaches to management, what it means to be accountable as a board and the significance of electoral representation. These topics were chosen for inclusion because they are significant in the literature.  In addition, they were important to a group of Saskatchewan school trustees and managers who advised the project.  At the end of each chapter, the handbook provides a set of questions for discussion.


Acknowledgments

Appreciation is extended to the following individuals for their role in contributing to the development of this handbook.  Your thoughtful comments and suggestions reflect the goal of what this handbook is intended to achieve.
 
 

Dorothy Fortier, Past President 
Saskatchewan School Trustees Association 
 
Craig Melvin, Executive Director 
Saskatchewan School Trustees Association 
 
Bob Thompson, Past President 
Saskatchewan School Trustees Association 
 
Lavonne Beriault, Legal Services 
Saskatchewan School Trustees Association 
 
Ron Kruzeniski 
Regina R.C.S.S.D. 
 
Barry Bashutski, Education and Research 
Saskatchewan School Trustees Association 
 
Colleen Lavoie 
Prince Albert Rural School Division 
 
Gary Broker 
Retired Director of Education 
 
Carol Lafond 
Saskatchewan Valley School Division 
 
Pat Dickson, Executive Director 
LEADS 
 
Gary Shaddock, Vice President 
Saskatchewan School Trustees Association 
 
Dr. Murray Scharf 
University of Saskatchewan 
 
Denise Kouri 
Researcher-Writer 
 
Ron Walter, Secretary-Treasurer 
Saskatoon West School Division 
 
 

A special thanks to HEALNet Regional Health Planning for use of unpublished materials, and Tanya Dunn Pierce for the literature research.



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Introduction
Why this document?

Boards of education strive for effective educational governance. Changes in organizational philosophy and the context in which schools operate compel boards of education to reflect on how governance might be improved.  The 1996 SSTA Convention called upon the Association to develop a resource to familiarize trustees with new models of policy governance.

This resource provides information for trustees about different views and components of governance.

This resource provides information for trustees about different views and components of governance. It does not advocate for one point of view over another, but presents alternative strategies with the intention of informing the choices trustees have.

The topic of governance will likely evoke many contemporary issues for trustees: amalgamation; district size; jurisdictional issues; urban-rural differences; relationships with First Nations, school effectiveness, accountability; and many others. Rather than focusing on specific issues, however, this resource discusses board governance in general — how boards can organize themselves to make effective use of their authority within the current framework of The Education Act, 1995.

We provide excerpts from and make reference to contemporary analysts of governance and board development. We also touch on questions that have been raised by board members and trustees. There are eight headings for the discussion:

1. The Governing Board
2. Governing through Policies
3. Board and Program
4. Board Information Needs
5. Making Decisions
6. Board and Management
7. Accountability and Representation
8. Board Development



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1. The Governing Board

What is a governing board?

As trustees are aware, school boards in Saskatchewan derive their authority from the provincial government. School division boards are governing boards — that is, they have the highest authority for the division — as compared to advisory boards. The school board itself is a corporation, an entity composed of members, who are elected by and accountable to their electors as well as to the “Crown.” Accountability is the obligation to render an account for a responsibility conferred

It is important to recognize that not all governing boards are the same. They can be distinguished by the kind of organization they represent.

School boards are public sector, elected boards, so democratic representation is an important aspect of governance.

Many of the existing models for board governance are based on for-profit organizations, or NGOs. Few explicitly address the specific situation of boards such as school boards who have a dual accountability — there is both a legal mandate from the Crown and an accountability to the electorate. Questions about democratic representation, such as who does the board represent? are an important component of addressing governance.

What is governance?

Governance consists of decisions and actions linked to
 

Governance is a broader concept than management — management consists of decisions and actions linked to performance of an organization. (Wood, 1996.)

In this resource we use the word trustee interchangeably with board member, and the word trusteeship in relation to governance.

Robert Greenleaf is known for his work with boards in advocating what he calls servant leadership. His perspective of the trustees’ role is linked to the notion of trust:
The board links the organization to its external environment.
An important role for any board is both to link the organization to its external environment and to buffer it from the environment. The board processes information and makes necessary adjustments. And it ensures the flow of resources into and out of the organization.  It will try to influence external conditions to the organization’s advantage. (Middleton, 1987.)

For school boards, the resource base includes the board’s taxation power. The external environment includes students, parents, taxpayers and other residents, members of affiliated communities and organizations, as well as the provincial government.

What makes trustees good governors?

The Canadian Comprehensive Audit Foundation (1996) provides characteristics for effective governance. To be good governors, board members and trustees should:

Questions for Discussion
— The Governing Board
What are the implications for board governance of being in the public sector? How does it make governing more complex?

What are the implications for board governance of being elected?



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2. Governing through Policies

Why govern through policies?

The mandate of Saskatchewan school boards is specified in The Education Act, 1995. However, boards have certain discretion over how they will carry out the mandate. What a board delegates to its staff and what it chooses to focus on itself is a key decision.

By focusing on issues in such a way that board decisions are formulated as policies, principles or guidelines for staff to follow and apply, a board is more likely to:

Why have a mission statement?

The first and most important statement of principle for a board to establish is its mission or vision statement. Elaborating a mission statement helps the board to:

What is policy governance?

John Carver is a proponent of policy governance. Carver (1990) advocates leadership through policies, giving four reasons for policy-focused leadership:

Carver argues that boards should make policies explicit and consistent, consciously choose policies from among alternatives, and obsessively keep the spotlight on the policies chosen. He provides the following four categories of board policies, which would encompass all other board policies: Although Carver’s model is one of the more specific about policy governance, the idea of boards focusing on principles or policies is not specific to him. Most analysts agree that the role of the board should be governing in the sense of establishing the organization’s goals, setting its policy and planning its strategy, rather than administering the organization. Boards often experience problems, however, in putting this ideal into practice. Some analysts point out that the typical solutions proposed are ideals, which are far from being implemented. Leighton states the problem as it is often expressed by board members themselves.
Avoiding both: being passive and micro-managing.
In studies of boards in action, this appears as a serious area of concern. Although the assumption is that nonprofit boards are policy-making and goal-evaluating, most of the data indicate that boards do not formulate policy but rather ratify policy that is presented to them by staff (Middleton, 1987.)  In surveys of what they do, board members mention neither supervising management nor broad policy-making. They see themselves as following the direction of staff, not as leading the organization. In addition, board and staff may not be in agreement over the board’s primary functions.

Houle argues that the conventional categories are sometimes applied too rigidly.

Houle states that “the worst illusion ever perpetrated in the nonprofit field” is that the board should determine policy and the CEO should carry it out. In addition to making policy, boards must perform a number of CEO and judicial functions. The CEO, on the other hand, has an important role in policy making.
The problems and opportunities that any nonprofit organization faces do not come labeled as major policy or administration.

Herman describes the Carver model as “heroic,” in other words ideal, but not easily operationalized. The trouble with the policy-administration and Carver models comes in applying the generally accepted principles in specific circumstances. The problems and opportunities that any nonprofit organization faces do not come labeled as major policy or administration.  A board needs to sort out what are their major policies and ends, but it must also be prepared to adjust them as conditions change. This makes the simple divisions between ends and means, or between policy and administration, difficult to implement consistently. (Herman and Heimovics, p.44.)
 

Boards need the capacity to assume a more hands-on role when warranted.

The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (1995) points out that boards need the capacity to assume a more hands-on role when warranted. Their view is that in normal circumstances, the board should not intrude on the prerogatives and responsibilities of management. Day-to-day management functions should not be performed, even partially, by the board. However, they suggest that the board needs the capacity and the willingness to assume a more active role in managing the organization, at least temporarily, where warranted by exceptional circumstances (i.e., the departure of the CEO with no clearly acceptable successor available, serious financial difficulties that simultaneously create an urgent need for decisions and lessen the credibility of senior management to make them).

Greenleaf points out that the essential issue is power.

When referring to the board cross-over with administration,  Greenleaf sees it as taking power back.
Trustees have power as a group, not individually.

Trustee power, however, is collective power.  The board’s authority is as a group. No individual trustee has direct control over the organization.

There are “costs” to taking delegated power back, especially in an ad hoc or unjustified way.

Boards committed to governance through policies will have and follow explicit procedures specifying the conditions and circumstances for when and how they take delegated power back. There are, after all, “costs” to taking delegated power back, especially in an ad hoc or unjustified way: the future sense of responsibility of those to whom the board has previously delegated authority will be undermined.
 
Questions for Discussion

— Governing through Policies
What is a policy? On your board, how does a policy get formulated from an issue?

What do you perceive as the advantage of governing through policies?

Does your board bring up its mission statement or goals statement often in its deliberations?



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3. Board and Program

How can trustees stay involved? How can they contribute their expertise and experience?

The Saskatchewan school board member/trustee holds office as a member of the public. He or she is not expected to be an expert in education. However, board members are expected to be accountable to those they represent. They must understand the school system’s objectives and strategies. In order to act to ensure the organization’s objectives are met and that the organization’s performance is satisfactory, board members must understand enough about educational strategies to make appropriate choices within their jurisdictions.

Although many educational issues are the jurisdiction of the province, the school board’s purpose is also education, and the school board decisions are key to educational objectives — indeed that is the reason for their existence. In order to be “bridgers” between the school system and the public, and in order to make decisions based on principles, board members need to understand the way their decisions affect learning. This has implications for the kind of information trustees need.

The Education Act, 1995 specifically outlines areas where members of the school board are to be involved, e.g. areas of student supervision and expulsion, teacher dismissal, etc. Even so, the degree of involvement of trustees in school programs and activities is often a question for discussion. A classical policy governance approach would suggest that trustees should have no participation in educational activities. However, in many school divisions trustees are often active participants in school-related activities. In smaller-population communities, individuals are more likely to know each other on a personal basis, and interact in many different capacities in addition to school-related activities. Again, in some views of governance, such close relationships may be perceived as a conflict of interest, especially when trustees are called upon to make decisions affecting their neighbours and acquaintances.

On the other hand, many involved in school governance have pointed out that to deny trustees the opportunity to participate in in-school activities, not only denies the system the use of this resource, but it also reduces for many trustees the enjoyment and learning they obtain from this participation, often one of the incentives for their contribution. Many trustees, for example, contribute through assisting with transportation or providing volunteer services. The resolution would seem to lie in balancing and separating the two roles of trustee as hands-on contributor and trustee as policy-based decision-maker. To be successful, the separation of functions could be structural, with it being clear which committees, task forces, etc. are contributory and which are decision-making. However, board members must also be committed to separating their roles, through understanding why it is better, overall, that they do separate their roles.

“If trustees don’t have some hands-on experience, how can they learn about how the school system really works?”

Questions for Discussion

— Board and Program
How many trustees, do you think, are interested in participating in school activities beyond their governance role? Are you interested in doing so?

Can you think of examples from your own experience when a trustee became too involved in the operations of the school activities? What aspect was difficult and why? Could it have been handled differently?

Can you think of ways in which a board member can influence the educational program and organizational culture without “micro-managing”?



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4. Board Information Needs
What kind of information do board members need?

Information is key to effective governance. Knowing what information they require, and in what form, is key to board members’ good decision-making. Making decisions based on principles and policy, choosing among programs and allocating resources to produce the best overall performance and outcomes — these require information of a particular kind. Effective governors ensure they obtain that information. This is not to say that board members will be un-interested in other types of information that pertain to schools and education. However, to fulfill their governance responsibilities, trustees should focus on informing and developing their options.

The CCAF (1996) recommends that good information for governors:

How is the content of trustee knowledge to be determined? Who will secure it? And how is it best presented and utilized?

Greenleaf’s recommendations about information are consistent with the CCAF. He sees information as the key to restructuring the trustee role. He acknowledges that some of the information that trustees need to know is the same as what inside administrators value. For example, both should have the same basic, summarized financial information and the findings of the independent audit.

However, he points out that most of their information needs are different because their roles are different.

Information should be mostly oral-visual, with some printed material.

Greenleaf also recommends that the material be presented to trustees with a minimum of written material and a maximum of oral-visual presentation to trustees as a group. This is because trustees are a deliberative body. Information should be designed to give them what they need for their decisions, to conserve their time, and to facilitate a group decision out of discussion.

On the other hand, some print material is also important. Print material provided beforehand gives trustees more time to consider the content. Print material also ensures that “what is read is what is said.”

"Won’t trustees lose control if we don’t keep track of operations? How will I know what is happening?"

A key component of board information is evaluative information — information about performance. There are three areas of evaluative information for effective governance:

The three areas use different processes for evaluation, and different criteria. However, the success of the three are related, and the connections between them should be drawn.

Evaluative information is important to setting future plans and budgetary allocations. Evaluation and monitoring will ensure trustees maintain control over the organization.

In order to make evaluation and monitoring meaningful and helpful, board members must be able to name what they want. That is, they must be able to identify and state what results they want from their organization. This is not an easy or straightforward task — indeed it may be one of the most difficult tasks for a board. The most important results may be intangible or difficult to assess — even to identify. An example is students’ love of learning.

With respect to influencing organizational behaviour, a crude measure of the right thing beats a precise measure of the wrong thing. (Carver,1990, p.80.)

Board members should ensure that evaluative information is meaningful. To be helpful, evaluative information will most likely include both numbers and text— presentation of outcomes linked to explanations of how the outcomes have been achieved or why they have not.

Program descriptions, case histories, analyses, and explanations are important so that decision-makers understand the context and dynamics of how their organization and programs work in practice. Decision-makers cannot make meaningful decisions without fully understanding how organizational strategies actually work to produce outcomes. Numbers are valuable because they provide the magnitude and scope of any particular outcome. Governors must decide for the whole organization — the size of any impact in relation to resources and goals will therefore be an important consideration in setting priorities. However, numbers unlinked from context are meaningless. By the same token, individual stories are not sufficiently informative of the big picture. Both numbers and text have a role in ensuring evaluative information is meaningful.

Who should provide board information?

One of the key issues in the relationship between boards and their staff is that of information flow. Directors need a sound understanding of the organization and its environment, good information about developments that may affect the organization, and sufficient time to consider that information and exercise their judgment as a board. It is usually the responsibility of the Chair of the board to see that these needs are met. The board would expect management to provide comprehensive information in support of proposed strategies presented for adoption, such as the key assumptions made, the support for them, and the significant alternatives that management considered and rejected.

There are some pitfalls, however, noted by analysts.

At the very least there are confidential matters. Some of the issues that need to be considered are of a sensitive nature, and may need to be discussed informally, outside regular board meetings, or without the directors who are also members of management.

However, some writers point out that boards are increasingly relying on their own sources of performance information, independent of the CEO and management

Some would argue that trustees have always made use of outside information sources. The difference here is that it is explicit and there is an attempt to attain credible and valid information.

Greenleaf feels that since there is no dependable information source responsible directly to them, most trustee bodies have no adequate way of measuring performance.

Greenleaf recommends that chairpersons, or staff persons responsible to them, oversee the informing of trustees, including the design and gathering of the data.
An advantage of participatory models is better first-hand information for board members.

Some would argue that the advantage of participatory models is that the involvement of trustees in committee work with staff, administration and clients may provide them with better first-hand information which can lead to collaborative discussion and sound policy.

Questions for Discussion

— Board Information Needs
Review the CCAF list of good information for governance, presented at the beginning of this chapter. Do you agree with this list?

Do you as a trustee obtain such information on a regular basis?

Does the information you receive allow you to evaluate and/or formulate options?

Do you prefer oral-visual presentations or written material for board deliberations?



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5. Making Decisions

Deciding how to decide

Choosing appropriate board processes for decision-making is part of good governance. At times, typical board process may limit board understanding.

Leighton recommends new approaches. Froese (1998) recommends some imperatives for positive action: Many of our ideas about decision-making are based on overly simplified models. Research about decision-makers in their actual settings reveals that human beings do not always behave as in the models.

For example, humans are more likely to:

Organizational decision-making differs in important ways from individual decision-making Decisions by and for organizations are distinctively different from decisions made by and for individuals.  Group decisions replace the single decision maker. Groups of people make organizational decisions and these groups have their own dynamics. Decisions are not those that any single member of the organization would have made, or even the average one.

Organizations typically have several purposes. In addition to the explicit goals or objective of a specific decision, constraining every decision are implicit organizational goals:

Good and appropriate information is important to making decisions. Emotions, values and principles also exert an influence. It is important for decision-makers to be aware of all influences, and consider how to handle them to make better decisions.

 

(HEALNet Regional Health Planning, 1998.)
 

Using ethical frameworks and processes

Public sector boards must be able to justify (not just explain) their decisions to their constituents. Decision makers are asked to deliberate about and justify either their judgments or the principles that underlie them. Justifying decisions includes making explicit the principles that underlie one’s judgments or deliberation. These principles must themselves be defensible in terms of what is right and fair. Ethical frameworks and processes can be very helpful for boards to use both in making decisions and accounting for them to others.

Many decisions are straightforward and can be made quickly, for example,

However, in some situations, people’s ideas do not converge quickly. Some decisions may require special attention to the process of making the decision if the cohesion of the group is to be maintained. There may be very divergent ideas and an overt or underlying conflict in the discussion.

Sometimes a board needs to seek enthusiastic support, while other times lukewarm or even ambivalent support is sufficient. Consider these features — the higher the level of each, the more the need for support.

Decisions as agreements

Kaner provides a good strategy for making decisions that need the sustained agreement of various stakeholders. He divides the process into three components: (1) intentionally diverging to obtain more ideas and points of view; (2) working through the ideas among the decision-makers to ensure all have achieved at least the same understanding of the issues at hand; and (3) converging to a solution.

Diverging

Working things through
“If we don’t have time to get it right the first time, we always seem to find the time to do it over.”

Converging

Questions for Discussion
— Making Decisions
To what extent do your board discussions help you formulate good decisions? Do people listen to each other? Does the deliberation ever cause participants to change their views?

How many of your decisions could be considered agreements? Do you have adequate ways to obtain and consider different points of view? Do you have adequate ways to work with different points of view?



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6. Board and Management

Is the CEO the Board’s only employee?

The board is the site where the policies and principles for organizational action are established. This is done through goal and mission statements, policy statements, organizational strategy and allocation of resources. The CEO and other staff implement the organizational action.

Carver is unequivocal about the role of the CEO. His view is that the CEO is the board’s only employee, and all other employees are under his or her jurisdiction. (Carver, 1990.) Other analysts support this view:

This approach, however, is not the norm for Saskatchewan boards of education. And not all analysts agree with the approach. Middleton, for example, describes the typical board’s relationship with the CEO as paradoxical. Studies indicate that the relationship is often conflictual. Tension is an inherent aspect of the relationship because of the CEO’s informal power, role in shaping policy, and leadership position in the organization.

We discussed above the worry that a rigid separation of policy and operations might lead to an uninformed board. Such worries are also found in relation to the role of the board in relation to its management.

To overcome these difficulties, one suggestion is, at a minimum, better communication. Ongoing communication between the board and management will help ensure that the board’s needs and concerns are addressed.

A collaborative and dynamic relationship

Some analysts recommend collaborative methods. Collaboration is more than communication and is needed to effectively ensure policy formation and implementation and carried out to everyone’s satisfaction and best interests. Such methods depend on the board and CEO having empathy for each other’s roles.

Indeed, many suggest that the relationship is a partnership, one that depends on mutual trust. It should be harmonious, and it fails if communication about roles and responsibilities is ineffective.

Some writers recommend more fluid relationships between boards, their CEO and other staff.

Leighton and Thain agree that overseeing the development of strategy is a responsibility the board and CEO share with top management. Where management is weak in strategic thinking but strong in operational skills, the board may have to play an active role in initiating and developing a strategic direction; where management has strong strategic capability, the board’s role can be more passive, overseeing and screening proposals and ensuring the avoidance of major mistakes. An independent, broadly-experienced and diverse board can bring perspective and judgment to many aspects of this process, providing a balance to management’s more detailed and tactically-oriented plans and proposals. (Leighton and Thain, 1997.)

Ultimately it is the board’s responsibility to establish the culture and ethics that ensure the relationships are conducive to effective communication and decision-making.

Greenleaf’s views are unequivocal about the problems with the current perspective, in relation to both the CEO and the management. He presents alternatives to the conventional views:

He sees three major obstacles to trustees initiating rather than reacting:
  1. Most of the efforts to meet the rising social expectations are largely coercive, either through government edict, the fostering of countervailing forces, or pressure tactics.
  2. We are wedded to the belief in one-man leadership.
  3. Administrators and staff assume the total burden and trustees are kept in a subservient role, partly because it is the custom (and only a rare hard-nosed and determined trustee will challenge the custom.) (Greenleaf, 1974, p.111.)
Greenleaf’s views reflect the importance he places on the role of power. As a remedy, what Greenleaf envisions for a large institution may be described as two strong teams. “The cardinal principle is that no single person has unchecked power, but that all of them may be both restrained and encouraged by their peers.”
The CEO as gateway.

In summary, the prevailing view is that the board and staff have separate roles, the CEO functions as the head of the operational arm as well as the main support to the board, and therefore acts as the gateway between board and the rest of the organization.

There are slightly differing views, however, about the relationships between the board and other staff. Some, such as Carver, see the CEO as the only employee, while others recommend a more team like approach with managers. No analysts recommend that board’s directly hire or supervise any other staff but the CEO. However, many recommend a more porous relationship to increase communication and understanding between board and management.

Questions for Discussion

 — Board and Management
How much discussion has your board had about the board-management relationship?

What principles or beliefs would guide your board and management in their relationship?



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7. Accountability and Representation
To whom is the board accountable? Whom does it represent?

To be accountable means to justify decisions and actions. School boards are formally accountable to both the province and to the electorate. In a more informal sense, board members also have a measure of accountability to their pupils, the parents, the public, their staff and to one another.

The school board, similar to a municipal council and unlike for-profit boards or non-governmental organizations, is elected by the public, and is intended to represent the interests of the public. Present are assumptions and expectations associated with democratic structures. Such assumptions include adequate representation, open debate, and advocacy around issues of concern to the public.

Middleton discusses the link between the board and its external environment.

Middleton acknowledges that “nonprofits often experience conflicting claims made on them by diverse constituencies such as donors and beneficiaries,” and that the degree of conflict that surfaces seems to be related to the diversity of membership and specifically to the degree of constituent participation on the board.

Inclusion of these constituents as board members is one strategy.

Houle talks about a balance between broader politics and organizational independence: Boards can sometimes serve to lull the public into believing that an issue is being dealt with.  Houle argues that boards give the public an illusory sense of security. Because a board is presumably watching over a particular service, other citizens believe they may safely ignore it. When this happens, the agency may become the victim of weak, incompetent, or venal people, a protected entity in which inefficiency or corruption may be undetected.

Mathiason comments on the effect of an advocacy orientation:

Belfall (1995) also recognizes, albeit in a more neutral fashion, the role of advocacy.  He argues that advocacy is increasingly becoming a focus of professional and other types of membership-based associations.

Enhancing democratic participation is a board responsibility

Froese (1998) suggests that there are two agendas for school boards:

We are coming to understand that an important role played in our society by not-for-profit and public sector organizations is to increase the overall level of democratic participation. A strong democratic society relies upon a strong civil society.

From this perspective, it follows that school boards have a responsibility to extend their specific role in education to that of increasing the extent and quality of public debate. Enhancing democratic citizenship is important.

David Held (1996) states that the principle of justification for a participatory democracy is that:

This would suggest that school board members and trustees have a responsibility to speak their minds, doing so in a way that makes explicit the principles underlying their statements and that maintains fairness to others.

Questions for Discussion

 — Accountability and Representation
Has your board discussed to what extent it is accountable to its various constituencies? What are the implications for your work?

Have you experienced your board being faced with an issue of competing accountability between the provincial government and the public? How did you resolve it?

Have you experienced your board being faced with competing demands from different components of its constituency? How did you resolve it?



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8. Board Development
Lifelong learning …

Being effective governors requires board members and trustees to have the necessary skill, knowledge, ability and commitment to fulfill their responsibilities. This includes knowledge about the organization and its program, as well as the processes and information required for effective governance. Boards require training in group relationships and decision-making. Decision makers need to know about making decisions — both influences and process.

Board education should focus on decision-making and governance process, including the issues we have discussed in this handbook:

Above all, education for effective governance will enhance critical and creative thinking. The best tool for decision-making is good thinking. The most important result of this resource is that boards be increasingly thoughtful about their governance.


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References

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Belfall, Donald. Associations in Canada: Future impact and influence. Toronto: Foundation for Association Research and Education, 1995.
Brown, Marvin T. Working Ethics: Strategies for Decision Making and Organizational Responsibility. Jossey-Bass Publishers. 1990.
Canadian Comprehensive Audit Foundation (CCAF).Governance Information — Strategies for Success. 1996.
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. Control and Governance Series. 1995.
Carver, John. Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations. Jossey-Bass 1990.
Froese, Elmer. Becoming a Better Board. Presentation at the SSTA North-South Seminars. 1998.
Greenleaf, Robert. Servant Leadership:A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. Paulist Press. 1977.
HEALNet Regional Health Planning. Strategies for Informed, Democratic Decision-Making, Working document. 1998.
Held, David. Models of Democracy. Stanford University Press, 1996.
Herman, Robert D. and Heimovics, Richard D. Executive Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: New Strategies for Shaping Executive-Board Dynamics. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1991.
Houle, Cyril O. Governing Boards: Their Nature and Nurture. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1989.
Kaner, Sam. Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. New Society Publishers. 1996.
Leighton, David S.R. and Thain, Donald H. Making Boards Work: What Directors Must Do to Make Canadian Boards Effective. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1997.
March, James and Shapira, Zur. Behavioural Decision Theory and Organizational Decision Theory. Decision Making: Alternatives to Rational Choice Models. Sage Publications. 1992.
Mathiason III, Karl. Board Passages: Three key stages in a nonprofit board's life cycle. Washington: National Center for Nonprofit Boards, 1990.
Middleton, Melissa. Nonprofit Boards of Director: Beyond the Governance Function, Chapter 8 in The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook, Powell, Walter W. (ed.).  New Haven: Yale University Press. 1987.
Powell, Walter W. (ed.) The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1987.
Selznick, Phillip. TVA and the Grass Roots. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1949.
Wood, Miriam (ed). Nonprofit Boards and Leadership - Cases on Governance, Change and Board-Staff Dynamics. Jossey-Bass. 1996.
Zey, Mary. Criticisms of Rational Choice Models. Decision Making: Alternatives to Rational Choice Models. Sage Publications. 1992.

Note: For the sake of consistency, in citations from Houle, Powell and Belfall, the terms Executive Director and Chief of Staff were changed to Chief Executive Officer.



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