Saturday, 31 December 2011

Reflections on 2011 - The UGLY

Well haven't posted in awhile - the end of the year always seems to be busy with a flurry of activity!

So 2011 is quickly coming to a close and its time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly. So let's start with the ugly....

Here it is 17 years after I was first elected and it's like deja vu all over again - the TDSB is facing a $80 to 90 Million shortfall and there seems no likely solutions - the only way to balance the books is to cut programs which means we hurt kids.

It's hard to believe in a developed country that we still struggle with the economics of education. I have made this statement so many times I'm sure many are sick of it BUT to me it will always be true - education is the great equalizer! I have seen kids who thought they had no hope become doctors, lawyers and even some of the best teachers I know in our system - where did they get this hope? From adults who made a difference in their lives and in most cases a teacher or a coach.

I enjoy speaking to exemplary teachers and the most important question I ask is how did they become so caring and dedicated and I have yet to have one not point me to a teacher who made a difference in their life.

We have poverty issues in Toronto and the GTA - it's sad that so many of our students go hungry every day while they live around abundance around them - how do we fix this? The first step is giving them the best education possible and creating the gateway to a better life - not a hand out a hand up.

Any study I've ever scene clearly articulates that monies spent earlier in people's lives is saving in the long run - so why don't politicians get it? is it because they don't vote? How do we articulate for the kids who don't have a voice, don't have involved parents or don't have parents who know who to call to get what they want.... Who speaks for these kids falling through the cracks - while I know many of my colleagues do BUT our hands are tied behind our back because of how we are funded - where are the citizens of Toronto to demand that monies raised in Toronto - stay in Toronto?

I'm not looking forward to 2012 as a Trustee as I see many difficult decisions ahead - AGAIN!!

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