These past four years have left many parents and community members shaking their heads about the state of public education. And who can blame them? There appear to be gaps in information for the public regarding decisions that are made by boards, and some missing details about what is really happening in schools. It is seemingly more difficult for parents and the public to reach the decision-makers, the overarching leaders of the districts – the trustees. It is even more difficult to get an answer back or to feel supported.
This is the first article in this election campaign where I will tackle some of the bigger rocks to be moved for the public.
What does it mean to improve the school experience for students? It means parental involvement, communication, timelines, space, people, services, health including mental health, food security, and much more. How much control does a Board of Education have? Some, a lot, and none. All of those, are dependent on the issue.
Parental involvement is the first matter to address. And to me is the most important, next to the teacher at the front of the classroom. Parents and family are at the heart of a child’s life. Education is responsible for the student – for just 13 years – but we need to recognize that individual child as a whole person, no matter their age or stage in life. Children arrive at the door daily with the rest of their lives trailing next to them. Some of this they get to leave at the door, some of it they don’t.
Recognizing that parental rights are important in the role of a child’s education is the first step toward guaranteeing a child’s success in the classroom. There is a common saying in education that parents are partners in education. What if we viewed it that education is in a partnership with parents? The professionals provide the learning environment and parents determine which professional provider (public or independent or even homeschooling) they will entrust their children with. In fact, that is what does happen; parents shop. We have students in our schools because families choose public education.
I am very cognizant of the role of parents and feel that as a board of education, we have room to improve. All boards do. These past four years have been tough enough for families and community. I am hoping to return to the era where we, all of the district, communicate better and with more empathy.
We are elected by the public to steward the public funds and to act on behalf of the community. Sometimes sandwiched between the function of provincial government and the needs of our community. It is a difficult place to be in, but if it were easy, you wouldn’t need us.
See you next time~