Saturday, 30 July 2016

0-2

I've taken the last few days to look back on my second time as a candidate for the office of Trustee for Ward 5 - York Centre at the Toronto District School Board. Those that have come up to me in the days following the election to inform me that I had their vote have left me in awe. Thank you, all.I ran a campaign that did not receive the organizational support of a single political party, labour union or incumbent local politician. Perhaps that is why my vote total dipped to the degree that it did. Josh Donaldson could not do what he does without Edwin Encarnacion hitting behind him. And it is very difficult for any would be politician to get themselves elected without those heavy hitters behind them.
I set out to speak to four particular points:
(1) Excellent education for all. The TDSB has failed to meet the many special needs of students. My daughter is not the only student being failed by our public system. I endeavoured to put her issues on the proverbial table. I did. Our Trustee elect had reached out to me and expressed an interest in working together going forward.
(2) Reviewing pathways and catchments. This perhaps became the most controversial of my campaign promises. But I do stand by it. Choice in education is necessary. With a total of fifteen new trustees and new Board Chair since the last general election the TDSB has a greater opportunity than ever before to address a solution to this problem.
(3) Fiscal responsibility. While the issue did garner me some attention it will be up to the new trustees and Chair to address the necessary reallocation of funds. If her campaign was any indication this will be a priority for our trustee-elect.
(4) Accountability. With new mandates in Wards 1 and 5, trustees are being given an opportunity to prove they can be trusted. I pray they do not disappoint.
I want my supporters to know I do know I do not see my result as the proverbial end. We ran a campaign that maintained integrity in an effort to a give a voice to the voiceless. To that end I believe we achieved.
I will allow Trustee-Elect Lulka to do her job during the course of her mandate. However, I have been to doors across my community. I can no longer turn a blind eye to a failure of representation. Trustee-Elect Lulka has been given as opportunity to do better than her predecessor and we should all respect the decision of the electorate and allow her to do that.
I do want to acknowledge that our incoming Trustee has reached out to me following the campaign. And this is a tremendous start. As I remain the representative for our area at the TDSB's special education advisory committee (SEAC), I believe this demonstrates she is prepared to make children with special needs a priority. There is still so much to be done and the next two years are already under way.
Jordan Glass Parent in TDSB Ward 5 - York Centre

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Why Governor Kasich is the LGBT Republican choice

Governor John Kasich came out on Monday (no pun intended) as the only viable choice for LGBT Republican. And he did it by doing what LGBT conservatives have been asking for spanning years now. He asked his own party to just move on.

While other popular candidates play into the meme portrayed by the left Governor Kasich was demonstrating that conservative leaders do not have to pander to the social conservative minority.

During a campaign stop at the University of Virginia the Governor did not shy away from a question pertaining to equality in marriage. The Governor responded that his personal religious beliefs do not allow him to support marriage between same-sex couples. However, the court has ruled and as such he has "moved on". He suggested social conservatives in his own party do the same.

Front runner Donald Trump, possibly Canadian Ted Cruz, and establishment choice Marco Rubio have all expressed disagreement wih the Governor's position.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

In praise of LGBTory

Listen people, everyone knows the Conservative Party of Canada is late to the proverbial Pride party. But that does not mean they should not be invited to it.

This previous summer LGBTory was almost shut out of Capital Pride in Ottawa, but such a prospect never should have been on the table, because this issue of equality should never have been a political one. I think most Conservatives would accept that it was their party that had initially most this issue political. It was the leadership of Stockwell Day and (yes) Stephen Harper that fought against equality for the LGBT community. (Note: To Mr. Harper's credit, he does carry a record of fighting for the international LGBT community with former Member of Parliament John Baird at his side; especially for a party who once boasted a prominent MP who stated, "Why do gays have to be out there in public, always debating that they want to call it marriage? Why are they dressed up as women on floats?")

But those days seem to be in the past. The record of the Harper government is unmatched in fighting for LGBT rights (an argument can be made for Pierre Trudeau's removal of homosexuality from the criminal code). And with a party now in opposition and heading toward a leadership election, Rona Ambrose, the Party's interim leader, and Michelle Rempel, who is rumoured to be considering a bid for the Party's 'permanent' leadership, are proudly marching at the front of the pack with LGBTory to bravely entrench same-sex marriage in the party's official policy.

There will be those who identify with other parties that will be intent on a knee-jerk response to paint the Conservative Party as 'johnny-come-latelies' (perhaps they may be), but that misses the point; that being the necessity to allow opposition to equality in marriage for the LGBT community to be swept into the dust bin of history.

It should also be noted that Patrick Brown, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, demonstrated his support by being the first sitting PC leader to walk with a Conservative delegation of this size in Toronto Pride. Potential federal leadership candidates Michael Chong and Kellie Leitch have also expressed their support.

I ask people to join me. Commend the Conservative Party of Canada for accepting this movement by LGBTory. They have earned it.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Ombuds query

During my campaign I advocated for a TDSB ombuds. I continue to believe the Board would benefit greatly. So I must express some confusion as to how this how not an issue that has arisen during the ongoing TDSB by-election in Ward 21 - Scarborough--Rouge River.

The reality of such a position is that it only comes with advantages to students, parents, and the Board. A specific ombuds would centralize a role that is currently a patchwork of bureaucrats; allowing for consistent responses to similar issues. The Board would also give families a clear route once an issue is not satisfactory to them with the additional charge of reporting to the Board.

I am supportive of an Ombudsman role. I know some of the current trustees are, as well.

However, if students and parents truly want to advance this agenda it is necessary to speak up. There has been no better time outside the current by-election. Yes, Scarborough--Rouge River, this one is on you. You alone, have the ability to speak up for students and parents across Toronto. Do not waste it.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Information: Additional P.A. Day

An additional Professional Activity Day (P.A. Day) that has been added to the calendars of all schools in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

All TDSB schools will have a newly designated P.A. Day on Friday, April 15, 2016. This additional P.A. Day has been mandated by the Ministry of Education as a result of provincial labour negotiations.

All TDSB schools will be closed to students on Friday, April 15, 2016. On this day, teachers will be taking part in professional development on provincial education priorities identified by the Minister of Education.

Most Before-and-After School Programs will offer full-day care for children currently registered in their program on the P.A. Day. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to speak to their local child care provider for further details.

The remainder of the 2015-2016 school year calendar remains unaffected. As always, details on the school year calendar can be found on the TDSB website at:
http://www.tdsb.on.ca/AboutUs/Calendar

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

National Inclusive Education Month

Inclusive education means that all students attend and are welcomed by their neighbourhood schools in age-appropriate, regular classes and are supported to learn, contribute and participate in all aspects of the life of the school. Inclusive education is about how we develop and design our schools, classrooms, programs and activities so that all students learn and participate together.
Community Living Toronto is proud to sponsor the “Fifteenth Annual Awards for Inclusive Education”. This award is given to recognize outstanding practices in inclusion within the school system. Awards will be given to both the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Toronto District School Board.
This year awards will be given to educators who demonstrate a belief in inclusive education by:
¨       Promoting the rights of all children in the neighbourhood, including those with an intellectual disability, to attend their local school and receive a quality education
¨       Supporting, encouraging and facilitating the inclusion of children with an intellectual disability within an appropriate grade classroom
¨       Assisting the student to achieve their full potential by ensuring necessary classroom accommodations and curriculum modifications occur
¨       Providing and modelling a welcoming, accepting environment that ensures the student does not remain or become socially isolated
¨       Valuing the unique contribution of all students
¨      Welcoming and encouraging the involvement of parents and/or others knowledgeable about disability issues
For further information please contact:
Mia McGowan at 416-438-1165 ext 222 or mmcgowan@cltoronto.ca

http://cltoronto.ca/15th-annual-award-for-inclusive-education-call-for-nominations/

Petitioning Toronto District School Board and the Ontario Ministry of Education: Make Learning a Liability: Change the Toronto District School Board's Special Education Plan

This petition has come to my attention from one of the finer rookie Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustees Alexander Brown, who first noticed it in the TDSB school council Facebook group. As the Special Education Advisory Committee has already started seriously focusing on how the TDSB can do a better job at delivering special education services, I thought it best to share.