Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Today, my husband and I are going to put up the remaining big signs (4' X 4') and deliver some more lawn signs. I will also repair the signs that were vandalized. (Some people have too much spare time on their hands!!)
This morning, I opened my inbox to find 34 emails. It made me shake my head when D.W. said he had "five emails last week and six phone calls."
Friday, September 28, 2007
|Yesterday at 7:30 AM, I attended the All Women Candidates Breakfast, hosted by the YWCA's One Woman, One Vote Committee. It was a great chance to network with other female candidates (both councillor and trustee) and share our common experience of campaigning. We also had a wonderful presentation by Dr. Linda Trimble, Chair of the U of A Political Science Dept. She spoke about the stalled representation of women in politics (20% in the last four elections). She spoke about the perceived barriers to women becoming involved in political life and the importance of mobilizing women (half the population) to vote. She concluded on a positive note: hope lies in municipal government, where women are more actively involved and represented.|
It was a great presentation, a great morning and just what we all needed to boost our resolve.
|Today I visited a seniors' residence, the second one I've visited during my campaign. The residents were extremely active, engaged and interested in education. I really enjoyed chatting with them all.|
Seniors have a great wealth of knowledge and experience that is being ignored and underutilized. They all remarked on how much they appreciated me coming, that I was the only candidate besides Mayor Stephen Mandel to do so. They had never seen a trustee before.
Some of their questions:
-- Why do students have to pay so much to attend school (textbooks, school fees, field trip fees, sports fees)?
-- What can be done for students who do not have the support they need at home and are falling behind?
-- Why are we busing kids all over the place and ignoring the community school that you could walk to?
-- Some schools have seniors come in to help children who need some one-on-one time. Why don't all schools do this?
I talked to them about the Living History project which has been developed by a 80 year old friend of mine. He wants to pair seniors with school-aged children to develop history projects together. It could be a film or a story or a short play. The senior provides the real-life context and some of the research for the piece of history. They literally bring history alive.
|I attended a community meeting in High Park last night. The community had come together (in great numbers) to address the growing problem of drug houses in the area with police officers. Councillors Linda Sloan and Karen Liebovichi (spelling?) were also in attendance. The police officers talked at length about the role community members play in combating the drug trade problem. They spoke about the importance of knowing your neighbours, walking your streets, and being a constant presence. I asked Constable Maurice Brodeur if having a boarded-up school (High Park Elementary) had an impact on crime rates, if it sent the message that "crime is okay here". He said that absolutely it had a negative impact and that having a school contributes to the vitality of a community.|
Trustees needs to reflect on the far-reaching effects of the decision to close schools.
|The All Candidate Forum was held at the EPSB (Blue Building attached to Vic Comp) on Sept. 26. It started with a keynote address from former Minister of Education, Dave King on the role of the trustee and then we all split up in Ward rooms. Don Williams and I were seated side by side at a little table. My family, including my two kids, Mum and sister were in attendance along with about 25 or 30 others. Don and I each had 6 minutes to present our platforms and then it was opened up for questions from the floor. The evening was moderated (with great skill!) by two Jasper Place high school students.|
Some thoughts on the evening:
Answering questions off the cuff is hard, but a great way to solidify your position and learn what is important to people. It is also a great chance for people to see if you WILL answer questions or if you are more concerned with "not saying anything" or towing the party line.
The overall event was poorly attended. Why don't people come? What stops them? How can we reach people more effectively?
The overall event was too restrictive. People want to be able to share their opinions, ideas, concerns and suggestions without having to conform to a structured procedure. Every interaction with the public that is set up by the School Board administration is too "procedure oriented." People do not feel heard. They feel stifled. This may be why public participation is so poor.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
My interview will start airing around 4:20 PM today. It will be in a rotation that repeats every hour. I've also ordered a DVD copy to load onto my website.
Monday, September 24, 2007
I asked why trustees were not included in their televised candidate debates and they said there wasn't enough time. I encouraged them to consider including trustees next time. I'm guessing it just wasn't of interest. Somehow, we need to raise the profile of education.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Today, former Trustees Lynn and Leon helped me find key locations for my large signs. My husband Kevin and friend, Christopher were the muscle. In other locations across the ward, Roger and Dave were pounding in more signs. THANK YOU ALL!!
In case you are wondering who did the fabulous design, it was donated by graphic designer and friend, Dave Jackson. You can contact Dave through his business- the Wired Cup in Strathearn.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
In reviewing the Code of Ethics for Trustees, there are a number of limitations concerning when, how and what a trustee may say. I will be seeking advice on this as I'm still uncertain where the line is and why it is there in the first place. As an elected official, doesn't your constituency deserve to know where you stand on issues not just what the board decision is? How can we balance the need to govern effectively and provide clear messages to the public (and avoid legal consequences), with the democratic obligations to be held accountable to the constituents and the personal right to freedom of speech?
I'm sure I'm going to put my foot in it a few times, but it seems to me if we want true communication between trustees and the public and if we want the trustees to effectively advocate for public education, we need to remove some of these gag orders and allow trustees to speak as an individuals. Currently, a trustee acting independently has "no authority above an ordinary citizen." Does no authority to make decisions or implement policy necessitate no voice? Are we taking the intent of the code and applying it in a broad-based way that hampers the fundamental roles and responsibilities of the trustee?
Friday, September 21, 2007
Here's a few comments I've received:
"You're the first trustee I've ever seen."
"Is she running for President, Mom?"
"I've never known who to vote for before. Thank you."
Mostly, they just say thank you and promise to read my leaflet later. I see standing on the sidewalk outside their child's school as the first step to improving communication between parents and trustees. Trustees need to be in the community and people need to know they are there for THEM.
Here is my answer:
Thank you for raising the important question of how we can engage immigrants more fully in the community and political landscape of Canada. I would not want a founding assumption of democracy (voting by citizens) removed. However, as a trustee, I would wholeheartedly support more direct consultation and input from immigrants on matters of education. We need to hear more about the concerns and issues of immigrant parents and work to break down the barriers of communication. One concrete step I would take would be to re-establish the public meetings which would be open to all community members, parents, teachers, principals and students. The meetings would provide everyone a chance to express their concerns to their trustee and MLA and to ensure that all voices from the community are heard.
I am very focused on community outreach and feel that schools provide an obvious and natural learning place for all members of the community. I would like to initiate more after-hours community use of schools, for things like computer literacy classes, ESL classes, physical education, social events and other community-building opportunities. I see the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers as an obvious partner in this venture. If I’m successful on October 15, I hope we can work together to explore these possibilities.
I hope this answers your question, but if you need further clarification, please feel free to contact me.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Trying to raise the profile of the trustee's role with the media.
I did interviews with CBC TV, CTV, City TV, CHED Radio and the Edmonton Journal.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
- I don't have kids in the system, so I don't know what the issues are.
- Why don't we have one school board instead of two? It would save money and my daughter could go to the school across the street. I think 2 +2 is the same there. (from a Catholic parent).
- There are so many more kids coming into our neighbourhood, but now they closed our school.
- Things have changed a lot over the past twenty years. The classroom has changed. Parents are expected to do so much now.
- Who is responsible for the school property over the summer? We had homeless people camping out on our school and my daughter was afraid to go to the playground
- I'm sick and tired of the school board refusing to do anything for aboriginal kids. They just keep ignoring the problem.
- It's all about the kids. for me, that's what matters. They are worth it.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
This month, I've had visits from: Sinapore, Mexico Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Switzerland, Italy and the Phillipines.
Now I just need some more visits from Lewis Estates!!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
It continues to amaze and disappoint me that school boards - and to some extent, the media - continue to view schools in "business model" terms. Schools are not a business. They don't work that way. We went through this with Suzuki being a charter school and every five years in order to have the charter renewed the onus was on us to prove that it was growing. It had very little to do with the excellence the students were achieving because of the environment (low class sizes), parental commitment, great teachers (often being paid less than their peers in the Teacher's Association.) It just came down to "show us the numbers." Enrolment went up, but it's hard to say whether that made the school more successful. Schools should be there for students and not the other way around. Frustrating.
Here is the link to the article:
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Well done, Christopher for being diligent and proactive in this.
Here is a link to the article:
Hi y'all. Shaun here. A friend of mine, Sue Huff, is running for EPSB school board trustee. Take it from me, this gal is super human and will be the best thing that the EPSB has ever known. She's got a couple kids that she expects the very best for and will fight like an ugly man at closing time for what's best for all kids. VOTE FOR SUE HUFF when the time comes. Truly!
Friday, September 7, 2007
Here's the document released by the School Board:
I will be attending the September 11 meeting, in support of all three schools. There are alternatives to closing schools. Community schools deserve a strong advocate.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Certainly, I've read a number of studies that say that teenagers go through a profound shift in their internal (circadian) clock and that they basically aren't awake until 9:30 or so. Most teenagers are sleep-deprived because they just can't get to sleep early enough to give them the hours they need. Some schools in the States have moved to a later start time and shown drastic improvement in testing results. It's worth discussing.
What do you think?
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
It can all seem a little daunting, but then today I received an email from David saying:
"I need 900 leaflets for my team to cover our area."
I have teams!! It's very heartening.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
By the front entrance, bright yellow flowers were profusely blooming. It seemed a defiant reminder that someone cared enough to plant them. I walked around the school and it struck me how solid the foundation was, how new the building.
What a loss for that community.
Monday, September 3, 2007
It was a glorious morning, sunny and warm, and everyone seemed glad of the opportunity to come together.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
I'm thinking we should add a few more days to September!