The following text is from the office of Ward 3 TDSB Trustee Pamela Gough
Ward 3 Trustee Pamela Gough’s Update January 26, 2013
Stay in the loop with what’s happening in education by following Pamela on Twitter at @pamelagough!
Special Focus: January 29th Ward forum on Bill 115 and the new premier
Judging from discussions at the school council meetings I’ve attended, there is no question that the province’s Bill 115 has been the major issue this school year. Though repealed, it lives on in many ways. This complex, controversial act was used by the province to arbitrarily impose non-negotiated contracts on public boards’ teachers, principals, and superintendents. Bill 115 has provoked an angry response from teachers’ unions, and we saw this play out with the elementary union ETFO announcing on January 9th that they planned to call teachers to walk out of schools on January 11th, giving less than two days notice.
Although eventually teachers did stay in class that day, due to an intervention by the Labour Relations Board, the safety of thousands of children in the TDSB was put at risk by this messy and confused situation, and parents were left scrambling. By putting children in the middle of this dispute, the provincial union created chaos at the expense of the goodwill of parents and the general public, which pays teachers’ salaries through tax dollars.
As your trustee, it’s been hard to watch this intractable situation, in which the local public boards have been largely bypassed by the province and the unions- but must deal with the fallout. TDSB’s HR staffers are dealing with thousands of grievances and it’s likely that millions of fundraising dollars have been lost. The labour relations situation is being played out at the provincial level but high costs are being incurred at the local level, both human and financial, eating up scarce public education funds that could be better spent in classrooms.
The withdrawal of voluntary extracurricular activities on the part of teachers has now gone on for almost half the school year. It has had a negative impact on schools in the public systems, which serves two thirds of Ontario’s students. Students have been vocal: they have been treated as pawns in a battle between the province and the unions, they have lost the activities that most connect them to their schools, enrich their learning, and lead to scholarships. They want the strife to end. So do I.
This Tuesday night, January 29th, I’m inviting you to develop your knowledge base on the impact of the current labour situation on schools in the public education system. Along with trustee Chris Glover of Etobicoke Centre, I will host a ward forum at Lambton Kingsway JMS (south of Dundas at 525 Prince Edward Dr.) at 7 pm. We will be joined by People for Education’s Annie Kidder and Globe and Mail education reporter Kate Hammer, along with a panel of School Council Chairs from local schools.
With a new premier in place, many see the upcoming week as a chance for a turning point to happen. Our speakers are among the most knowledgeable in the province on this issue. Come and find out for yourself what the future may hold in the post Bill 115 era. You will have a chance to ask questions of the speakers and will leave with more confidence in your understanding of this important topic. Details below.
In this issue:
· January 29, 7 pm: Ward Forum with Annie Kidder and Kate Hammer
· January 29, 6 pm: School council chairs/co-chairs meeting
· News from the Board Room: new Director of Education
· January 31: French Immersion registration deadline
· February: Kindergarten registration starts
· TIFF Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase accepting submissions
January 29, 7 pm: Ward Forum with Annie Kidder and Kate Hammer
Do you want to find out more about Bill 115’s impact on public education in Ontario? Looking to delve behind the headlines to hear analysis from the experts about where we might be heading after this weekend’s selection of Kathleen Wynne as the new premier?
Our next ward forum will be Tuesday, January 29th in the library of Lambton Kingsway JMS, 525 Prince Edward Drive. We have been fortunate in obtaining two widely respected guest speakers: Annie Kidder, Executive Director of People for Education, and Kate Hammer, Education Reporter for the Globe and Mail. There are few non-partisan people more knowledgeable and articulate about education politics than Annie and Kate. Light refreshments will be served and childcare is available. Please see the flyer attached for details.
Where: Lambton Kingsway JMS, 525 Prince Edward Drive, south of Dundas/Prince Edward (school library)
When: 7–9 pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013
RSVP for child care: Debbie Wagdin, Debbie.email@example.com
January 29, 6 pm: School Council Chairs/Co-Chairs meeting
Ward 3 School Council Chairs/Co-Chairs, please join me an hour in advance of the ward forum for a chance to meet to discuss a variety of school issues with each other, myself, and Superintendent Jane Phillips-Long. Pizza and childcare will be provided.
Where: Lambton Kingsway JMS, 525 Prince Edward Drive, just south of Dundas/Prince Edward (school library)
When: 6–7 pm Tuesday January 29, 2013
RSVP for child care: Debbie Wagdin, Debbie.firstname.lastname@example.org
News from the Board Room: new Director of Education
Former Director of Education, Chris Spence, resigned after admitting to plagiarism in an op-ed article published in the Toronto Star on January 6th, 2013. Dr. Spence has been a leading voice in education in Canada and has championed the causes of anti-bullying, school choice, and closing the achievement gap for children from underprivileged backgrounds. His decision to resign was the right one – academic honesty is of primary importance in education – but we should not forget that despite his flaws, he changed many lives for the better.
After Dr. Spence’s sudden resignation in the first week of school after holidays, the trustees moved quickly to appoint Donna Quan to the position of Director of Education for the TDSB in an acting capacity. Ms. Quan is the former Deputy Director. She is a superb, experienced leader with a background in Safe Schools and Programs. I have every confidence in her as Director.
January 31: French Immersion registration deadline
Early French Immersion, starting in Senior Kindergarten, is offered at Sir Adam Beck JS and John English JMS. The application period to register runs from January 7 to January 31. All applications made during the application period are guaranteed a placement. Applications made after the deadline will be waitlisted and are unlikely to find a placement as classes are generally full. Registration is done electronically from the TDSB website. Click here for more details.
February: Kindergarten registration
It’s always exciting to get ready for the next cohort of young learners to experience the adventure of Kindergarten! JK Registration for children turning 4 this year is starting February 1st and going for the month. While parents can register their children at any time, each school plans a day or two for parents and their children to come in for a special preview of the kindergarten experience after registering. Check your school message board and website for the specific Kindergarten Registration Days.
New Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) programs will start up in September, 2013 at Etienne Brule, John English, Norseman, Park Lawn, Seventh Street, Sunnylea, and Wedgewood. In September 2014, Sir Adam Beck and Lambton-Kingsway will start up FDK. All schools in Ward 3 will offer FDK at that point.
TIFF Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase accepting submissions
The 16th annual TIFF Kids International Film Festival takes place from April 9 to 21, 2013. TIFF Kids is now accepting submissions for the Jump Cuts Young Filmmakers Showcase, which presents short films created for young people by young people. Jump Cuts is open to young filmmakers in Grades 4 to 8. Deadline: Friday, March 1, 2013. For more information, click here.
Subscribe by contacting Debbie.email@example.com. For more information, check out my TDSB website at http://www.tdsb.on.ca/gough. Email me at Pamela.firstname.lastname@example.org. For the absolute latest information, follow me on Twitter at @pamelagough! Please forward this email to friends.