A Toronto District School Board trustee has challenged politicians to deal with education issues in the current provincial campaign.
Trustee Howard Goodman and the TDSB have declared Tuesday, Sept. 20, Education Day. They want the candidates in all Ontario ridings to open a dialogue with constituents about education in public debates. As the trustee for the Eglinton-Lawrence riding, Goodman said he has faced obstacles getting all of the candidates to agree to attend a debate that day.
“At the moment, (Rocco) Rossi is not going to be in attendance. We are hoping he will change his mind,” Goodman said. “Mike Colle (Liberal incumbent), Gerti Dervishi (NDP) and Josh Rachlis (Green) all say they are coming.”
Goodman said the day is not about the teachers or about the school board, but about getting informed voters to the polls on Oct. 6.
“It is important when people cast their vote, to have an informed vote,” he said. “Education is of critical importance when selecting a provincial government. You need to know when casting a vote where your specific candidate stands on education. You are not voting for your premier; you are voting for your local candidate.”
An report by the Toronto Star suggested that a large number of Ontario Conservative candidates have said they are unable to attend the Education Day meetings.
Nelson Wiseman, a political-science professor at the University of Toronto, said that the lack of Tory commitment could be out of fear of negative constituent response.
“It could be that they think this is just an affair where they are going to be attacked,” Wiseman said, “(and) that maybe it is not a good use of resources… I am moderator at a debate in Trinity-Spadina on education where the Conservative candidate is making an appearance.”
Prof. Wiseman added that this election could be an opportunity for the Liberal candidates to show they care about education.
“If there has been a single thrust of policy of the Liberals it has been education and they have done very well with that,” Wiseman said.
Education is probably the most important area of provincial responsibility. The debate is a great idea. The reality is that many of the candidates have not been invited or even know about this. It would appear that the debate organizers have focused on the main party candidates. The only parties that the organizers appear to acknowledge are the NDP, Liberals, Conservatives and Greens. If this is so, it deprives voters of the opportunity to hear from those candidates who are not beholden to their parties and are beholden to the community and local interests.
Toronto Danforth Debates is holding a candidates debate on September 29 which is for the purpose of introducing the voters to ALL the candidates and NOT only the candidates of the main parties.
Is this the same Trustee from the Bathurst & Lawrence area?
Based on the National Post articles mentioning this area, is this the same Trustee with public schools sent Palestinian Solidarity celebration dates and educating children on International Day to End Violence of Sex Workers?
I’m sorry, but this is a flyer for a staged event, not a serious debate on what educators are placing in the education system. If anyone disagrees, they are more than welcome to print off the international days from the publicly available TDSB web site, and read them over the PA system of their local middle school. Maybe each candidate will offer to do this at the local schools to show how understanding they are to the school board.
Even of more importance, never in the history of Canada, has a publicly-funded civic body ever had the arrogance to host such an event. Where should this lead to, the RCMP hosting debates on criminal legislation?
Are the majority of Torontonians, under the current administration, unconcerned that the salaries of municipally funding organizations, and other costs, are being used in this matter?
There are even more serious questions to these debates, such as when did it become appropriate for Educators to politicize the schools and students entrusted to their care?
You know Kristin, there are some great questions here, and maybe, just maybe, you will provide the journalistic coverage to ensure people receive a fair and balanced report.