|Posted by glass4yorkcentre on July 30, 2016 at 7:45 PM||comments (0)|
I've taken the last few days to look back on my second time as a candidate for the office of Trustee for Ward 5 - York Centre at the Toronto District School Board. Those that have come up to me in the days following the election to inform me that I had their vote have left me in awe. Thank you, all.I ran a campaign that did not receive the organizational support of a single political party, labour union or incumbent local politician. Perhaps that is why my vote total dipped to the degree that it did. Josh Donaldson could not do what he does without Edwin Encarnacion hitting behind him. And it is very difficult for any would be politician to get themselves elected without those heavy hitters behind them.
I set out to speak to four particular points:
(1) Excellent education for all. The TDSB has failed to meet the many special needs of students. My daughter is not the only student being failed by our public system. I endeavoured to put her issues on the proverbial table. I did. Our Trustee elect had reached out to me and expressed an interest in working together going forward.
(2) Reviewing pathways and catchments. This perhaps became the most controversial of my campaign promises. But I do stand by it. Choice in education is necessary. With a total of fifteen new trustees and new Board Chair since the last general election the TDSB has a greater opportunity than ever before to address a solution to this problem.
(3) Fiscal responsibility. While the issue did garner me some attention it will be up to the new trustees and Chair to address the necessary reallocation of funds. If her campaign was any indication this will be a priority for our trustee-elect.
(4) Accountability. With new mandates in Wards 1 and 5, trustees are being given an opportunity to prove they can be trusted. I pray they do not disappoint.
I want my supporters to know I do know I do not see my result as the proverbial end. We ran a campaign that maintained integrity in an effort to a give a voice to the voiceless. To that end I believe we achieved.
I will allow Trustee-Elect Lulka to do her job during the course of her mandate. However, I have been to doors across my community. I can no longer turn a blind eye to a failure of representation. Trustee-Elect Lulka has been given as opportunity to do better than her predecessor and we should all respect the decision of the electorate and allow her to do that.
I do want to acknowledge that our incoming Trustee has reached out to me following the campaign. And this is a tremendous start. As I remain the representative for our area at the TDSB's special education advisory committee (SEAC), I believe this demonstrates she is prepared to make children with special needs a priority. There is still so much to be done and the next two years are already under way.
Parent in TDSB Ward 5 - York Centre
|Posted by glass4yorkcentre on July 7, 2016 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Back in April Premier Kathleen Wynne proposed a ban on corporate and union donation in provincial election campaigns. More than a decade after these types of contributions were outlawed at the federal level. It is an idea that is long over-due at the municipal and school board level. The potential for corruption amongst political candidates has become far too great. As such, this is what I propose:
1. Changes to third-party advertising rules to include clarifying what constitutes a third-party advertiser, and introducing anti-collusion measures and penalties.
2. A total ban on corporate and union donations beginning 2 January 2018.
3. Lowering the maximum allowable donations from $750 to $500.
4. An overall reduction in spending limits by candidates during election parties and introducing limits to fundraising during elections.
It is bad enough that candidates in this campaign (myself excluded) are once again raising money for their campaigns exclusively through high-rollers – primarily via union coffers with the privilege to donate the maximum allowed amount.
What is especially galling is the attempt to justify this practice by certain candidates. They may claim this is simply a part of the democratic process. If so, it is a part in need of urgent reform.
However, they cannot see this.
Much like the 2014 general election, candidates repeatedly make a point of taking donations from corporate and union interests, especially the education sector, in exchange for influence. These interests are willing to pay the maximum amount multiple times over because they believe it is worth their while. And the very fact that such a practice keeps happening indicates that they believe they are receiving value for their money.
That is certainly my perception, especially after being a two-time candidate, during which time I have never accepted a contribution from a corporation or a union.
This has gone on far too long. It is vital for public decisions to be made in the public interest, not in the interest of a few well-financed political supporters.
Will my fellow candidates stand up and make the same call for democratic reform?
Only time will tell.
|Posted by glass4yorkcentre on June 29, 2016 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
Two days ago the provincial government announced an increase in annual funding for school repairs to $1.3-billion this year and $1.4-billion in 2016/17. This is a step in the right direction. But is it enough?
The TDSB expects to receive close to just $300 million of the provincial funding, which will raise the school board’s total budget for repairs up to $579 million.
Moreover, there is still a $15-billion repair backlog in Ontario schools. And groups like Fix Our Schools continue to work to improve school conditions across the province.
Newly appointed Education Minister Mitzie Hunter admits that there are a number of schools that will be getting much needed repairs that are long overdue.
“The money is urgently needed to help address school boards’ growing renewal and repair backlog," she says.
“Over the past two decades, Ontario has dug a $15-billion hole of disrepair in our publicly funded schools”, says Krista Wylie, a parent and co-founder of Fix Our Schools. “With the new funding commitment announced today for school repairs, we’ve stopped the digging - but a large hole remains. This Fall, children will still return to aging classrooms with leaking roofs ... so we stay committed to working with all MPPs and Ontario school boards to ensure we Fix Our Schools.”
Let your network know about the success we've achieved thus far by creating a large network of Ontario citizens! Encourage them to get involved in the Fix Our Schools campaign. While this announcement marks a success, there is much work left to do to ensure that all York Centre's schools are safe, well-maintained buildings that provide good learning environments for students and good working environments for teachers and staff.
And remember, on July 25th elect a trustee that will make sure infrastructural renewal is on the docket at the TDSB.
|Posted by glass4yorkcentre on June 24, 2016 at 8:05 PM||comments (0)|
In lieu of a blog I thought I would direct your attention to this article. It demonstrates the model school program is working. As the father of a child in a model school I have seen this program in action. Let's keep up this kind of great work, together!
|Posted by glass4yorkcentre on June 14, 2016 at 3:20 PM||comments (1)|
Let me be clear: I support the updated 'sex ed' curriculum. I believe after nearly two decades it is impossible to deny that the world is a different place. As the father of two young girsl - particularly one of whom is on the autism spectrum and cannot fully comprehend when something may or may not be appropriate - I want them to be have the tools to make their own decisions without any worry of coercion or peer pressure.
I understand that many of those that have engaged in protests against the curriculum have done so either because they believe the curriculum to be an infringement of their religious freedom or in some failed attempt to protect their child's youth and innocence. And I have respect for that perspective. I firmly believe that parents must have the final say on whether or not their children are included in this lesson plan. School boards are doing no one favours by forcing aspects of the curriculum on to students; regardless of how baseless or illogical their opposition might be.
Here, however, is the problem; while I do believe that parents should be able to remove their children for even the most frivolous of reasons there is not a single viable reason to force that perspective on additional families.
That is where the problem with large scale protests lie. The ongoing actions against the curriculum are seemingly motivated by varying degrees of fearful ignorance and angry prejudice in an attempt to convince other parents that only this socially regressive view can be the right one.
But there is just one problem with that; they are wrong.
Many protesting parents seem to complain that the curriculum teaches Grade 1 students, for instance, that the female external genital area is called a "vulva." It is hardly corrupt or vile to instruct on basic anatomy.
Dispelling ignorance — teaching children basic facts and correct names for things — is a central mission of public schools.
Every other argument shows protesters objecting that their children are being taught to respect other people.
The whole debate about teaching “consent” centres on lessons that teach that each person is in charge of his or her own body and should not be made to tolerate other people abusing it. Objectors fear that children who learn the concept of consent are being taught that they can engage in sexual activity while they remain small children. But this a fear not drawn on from any of the written curriculum. Moreover, it entirely misses that the purpose of the consent lesson.
There also is a great deal of opposition to teaching children in the third grade that homosexuality exists and that some children in the classroom may very well have two mothers or two fathers. Opposition to this is absurd. You don't have to like the world as it is, but you do have to accept it. The fact is there will be children from families of varying make. Accept it.
As I'd previously stated, I support parent(s)'s freedom on this matter. However, if there are any parents reading this I encourage you to allow your children to take the full curriculum. They will be better people for it.
|Posted by glass4yorkcentre on June 6, 2016 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
I find myself occupied with the events of this previous weekend in the City of Toronto when this city erupted in a violence that saw three people shot and eight people stabbed. One victim was fatally wounded not far from York Centre in the York West neighbourhood of Emery Village. Another was as young as 10 years of age.
As a parent of two young girls I often find myself trying to ensure they have the pleasure of growing up in safety. But this past weekend something about this city stopped being safe. From central North York to Scarborough to Downtown this entire city felt the sting of a day that I just cannot stop thinking of.
Is Toronto safe? The truth is I don't know anymore. It isn't that far from the Sheppard-Jane border of York Centre to Sheppard-Weston.
Whether the City is safe or not is not an issue the Toronto District School Board can address. But should I be elected on July 25, curbing the violence amongst youth in our city will be a priority for me. The broader North York and Toronto community must be a place where we can have confidence in the safety of our children. The Board has to do more. The lack of extracurricular programming is a failure of the TDSB. Funding has to be made available; especially in priority neighbourhoods, for out of class-room programming. I believe in building schools as community hubs. The TDSB has a responsibility to provide for their charges. The current Board is failing in the regard. It is time to stop wasting money in areas like over-priced maintenance, so that we can direct it toward needed programming such as this.
Join me on July 25th to elect a candidate willing to prioritize the violence in this City. Make me your voice at the TDSB.
|Posted by glass4yorkcentre on June 1, 2016 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
Just four months on the job, and he’s already looking for a new one.
That is the story of TDSB Trustee and NDP candidate for Scarborough-Rouge River Neethan Shan.
This is far from Trustee Shan’s first offence. As a York Region District School Board Trustee, Shan unsuccessfully ran for the same provincial seat after less than one year on the job.
When the previous January’s TDSB by-election was held, his opponents attacked him for a lack of commitment to the Board. Turns out they were right.
Shan has openly admitted to that it took him a mere two months following his by-election victory before he began “engaging in serious thought and deliberations” and two months later decided to seek the NDP nomination. That’s right Torontonians; it took Shan a mere two months to decide being Trustee simply wasn’t good enough.
As a candidate for Trustee in York Centre, the comment is insulting. As a citizen in Toronto, Shan’s decision is nothing short of repulsive.
Citizens in Toronto, Scarborough, and right here in York Centre deserve better.
By-elections cost the Board approximately $250,000. At a time when the Board is literally taking special needs assistants out of classrooms due to lack of funding the Board is spending approximately $1 million on by-elections. Should Shan become the next MPP for Scarborough-Rouge River the public can add another $250,000 to that tab. Is this why we elect public officials?
You deserve better. That is why I am calling on all candidates in TDSB by-elections in Toronto Centre-Rosedale, Etobicoke North, and York Centre to pledge not to use the position of Trustee to run for so-called ‘higher office’. You have that promise from me. I am not running for the position of Trustee to be your next MPP or city councillor. I am running to be your TDSB Trustee.
I have always remained steadfast in my reasons for running. After years of being forced to navigate my way through the obscene red-tape and bureaucracy at the Toronto District School Board as a parent of a child with special needs, I came to a clear and present realization: It should not be this hard. Parents should not have to wrestle to obtain the best possible education for their children. And I pledge to do this as your Trustee. And only as your Trustee. I hope the other Trustee candidates will join my cause.
Most of all remember to vote on July 25th.