Schools are where children spend more than half of their waking life. It is important that there is stability in our schools and programs that help maximize the potential of our children. Parents need to be engaged and given options that are aligned with their values so they stay invested in the public school system. When parents become disengaged the energy and enthusiasm they generate to create a positive school culture can be lost. This can result in people leaving the public system to find other options as evidenced in the growing popularity of private education. Public/Catholic school enrollment numbers across Ontario are down and private school enrollments are on the rise. The IMFC identifies some key elements driving families away from public education include not educating the whole child, character development, amongst other factors.
I want communities to feel invested in public education. By taking a consultative approach with parents, teachers, administration and communities we can deliver better service and generate opportunities that keep families invested or get re-invested in the public school system. When families leave our public system they take their tax dollars, enthusiasm and energy with them. This loss requires our public schools to do more with less both from a financial and personal capital perspective. This is typically not a sustainable model. When looking at motions in front of me that call for disruption to students, families and schools I feel as an elected official it is imperative to ask: have we consulted parents and solicited input? Are there other options? If there are enrollment issues can we take action that will attract families to stay invested in our public school system? Disruption is a last resort, not the first.
I hope I can improve service, keep families invested and look at options to champion their needs whether it is special education, nutrition programs, diversity in our curriculum or alternative education options. I hope to provide access to the board and help my constituency advocate their needs. I feel that if a municipal politician shows they are invested in them, then families will get re-invested in the system.