Why I am running for school board trustee
Our children are suffering from decades of cuts to education. More crowded classrooms mean less individual attention. Standardized curricula fail the needs of children who think or process information differently. Instead of acknowledging these structural problems, children are blamed for being distressed, distracted, acting out, or not fitting in.The system is broken, and our kids are telling us this with their suffering. We need to listen to them, not silence them with psychiatric labels and brain-changing drugs. We need to change what we are doing in our schools, because our kids deserve better.
The relationship between the Ontario government and the School Board needs to change
While having no say over the amount of funds required, the Board is expected to deliver “continuous improvement in the level of student achievement in their schools.” This is a formula for increasing standardization. Children are not widgets, and their learning cannot be standardized. We need a school board that demands enough funding from the province to provide all children with the support they need to develop their potential.
Why are so many school-age children being labeled ‘mentally ill’?
Lack of resources and lack of social support are the primary drivers of psychological distress in adults and in children. We harm our children when we burden them with psychiatric labels and give them mind-numbing drugs that do not address the social sources of their difficulties: overwhelmed families, poverty, trauma, and social discrimination.Psychiatric drugs do not improve academic performance. They only make children more ‘manageable,’ while causing serious health problems down the road.
No child should feel excluded or unwanted at school
No individual is disabled when accommodations enable them to participate. Ontario’s approach to ‘special education’ labels students with impairments as ‘exceptions’ before meeting their needs. These ‘exceptions’ include many problems that are common variations of normal. By treating differences as ‘abnormal,’ the Education Act reinforces the stigma against these children and undermines their right to be included.Students with special needs learn that they are not ‘normal,’ that they have to navigate adversarial and bureaucratic processes just to be included, and they risk being excluded from school and society altogether. To ensure the inclusion of all children, I support the Ontario Human Rights Commission 2018 policy on accessible education for students with disabilities
Lack of funding is a major issue.
If our children are truly a priority, then no expense should be spared to give every one of them the education they deserve. It’s terribly unfair to fail to meet our children’s needs and then label them defective or ‘mentally ill’ and blame them for failing.
Why should someone who doesn’t have kids in school care about who’s running for school board?
Investing in children is an investment in the future of society. Do we want to raise children who are resentful and angry, discouraged and hopeless? Or do we want to raise children who are enthusiastic and creative contributors to society?
My plan of action
My priority is to organize parents, students, teachers and others who are concerned about the failure of the school system and society to meet our children’s needs. Whether or not I am elected to the School Board, I will continue to organize until the necessary changes are made. Our children deserve no less.