Why I am running for school board trustee

(This is a blog post that I wrote in February for the ARTICS website which encapsulates why I am running to be a school board trustee.)

Over the past two years, members of ARTICS have been called many things; advocates, watchdogs, troublemakers, and armchair quarterbacks to name a few. However, since our inception we have consistently maintained that we are simply a group of concerned citizens working to improve the education system for all of Calgary’s students.

Perhaps we were overly naive in believing that we could have an impact by shining a light on areas of the system which we found very troubling. Some may have questioned whether our methods were appropriate. However, we strongly believe that change can only happen when the truth is confronted, not ignored. Like Abraham Lincoln, we believe that, “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” And we truly want to help. There are very few things that matter more to us than the education of all of our children. They are our hope and our future.

For ages, people have fought the battle of “right against might” (Ghandi). Why do they do it? Why did we do it? Why did we sacrifice all the time, money and energy required to take a stand against a billion dollar organization with nothing more than willpower and dedication? Because, we believed that we could make a difference. We believed that our kids were worth it. And we still do.

We believe in the CBE. We believe that there are extremely dedicated and competent people in all levels of the organization who want what is best for our students. We believe that there are innovative practices and programs here that will better prepare our students for the future. We believe that our students are developing the skills that will make them the leaders of tomorrow. And we also believe that the CBE can do better. It must do better.

Transparency. Responsiveness. Accountability. These words are bandied about so often that they have become almost meaningless. But to us, they remain essential. It is upon these core values that great public organizations are built. And we want the CBE to be a great organization. We believe it can be. And we are willing to continue working as hard as we can, in the best ways that we are able, to ensure that it will be.

5 thoughts on “Why I am running for school board trustee

  1. Tracey Payne

    I am glad to see you running. It’s time for change. Dr. Lane has been in for far to long.

    My issues with the CBE are with Transparceny and Communication. I like the RRS feed that gets sent to my inbox but would like to see more and better content sent out. More news, survey’s, events, example (School Trustee Forums – Where and When’s).

    I have issues with Parent Councils in Public School. In my area ward 6 it’s the same group of individual’s on the Parent Council year after year. The group was in for my Son’s elementary school years and now they have moved onto the Jr. High School Level. I went to the Jr. High’s AGM on Monday night and there were 4 new people (includung myself) there besides the old parent council members for a total of 14 people including the principal, assist principal, and one teacher. People give up going to these meetings because it’s always the same Community (Politics). I have lived in the community for my years and know these people well and don’t care for these individuals but it’s difficult to get them gone. I am not comfortable working with the school’s parent volunteer coordinator as she has lived in my area for years and as I said prior I don’t like her. She plays politics big time. Is there a way to have a limit on how many years these people can sit on these councils? I feel uncomfortable doing any volunteer work at my children’s school because of the people that either coordinate events or work as lunch supervisors.

    I would prefer if the CBE didn’t hire people from the community to work at the community school. When this is done the politics from the community transfer into the school. I have three indivduals with walking distance of my house that work at my children’s school as secretaries, or lunch supervisors. I don’t like them as individual’s in my community and now have to pay them for over seeing my children at lunch.

    I would like to see change on these issues and plan to attend the up coming School Trustee Forums.

  2. Former School Council Chair and Lunchroom Supervisor

    Further to the last comment from Tracey, I think that it is a shame that she seems to be having a bad personal experience at her local public schools. It should be recognized that it is extremely hard to find parents who are willing to serve on school councils or even volunteer. Even harder to find are those parents who are caring enough and willing to provide their time as lunchroom supervisors. Supervising a group of up to 60 children and then watching over them outside is a demanding job and requires the supervisor to be caring and patient and supportive of very young children.
    Many parents are cautious about being school council executive volunteers as they see a group (of mostly women) taking on the role which is required of all schools. If a school council is not formed then the Minister for Education needs to be informed of the situation – which is very rare and frankly an embarrassment. If Tracey would like to see things change then she needs to have the courage to be an active participant and then perhaps those people who seem so political might soon become friends. We are driven to volunteer in the best interests of our children and those parents who have children at the school are best placed to take on those role – not others from outside the school community.
    Getting parents to come to meetings always seems to be a struggle as parents are busy people with jobs, their children to care for and many other draws on their time. However, meetings can also be a social event where parents can bring their ideas, be educated by guest speakers (a great way to increase numbers) and most importantly to learn more about the education system, the IPP process and where school funds are needed to improve the learning for our children. Schools funds are limited to the basics in the public system and fundraising is a great way to contribute to our schools.
    I urge all parents to go to school council meetings with a light heart, a positive attitude and a smile – it can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience.

  3. marj mcgarty

    As I go looking for informatio about canidates I’m finding more and more Acrimons being posted with no explanation as to what these acrimons stand for. We as the voters are left to try to figure it out. I can see them being ussed but in brackets after the first printing there should be the meaning or them after that the acrimon can be used. Remember that every line of work and organization have their own abreviated way of stating things but are not necessaryly understood by the general public. If I was to start to use a number of abreviations used in my line of work you may not get the message either. So how about using the English language with clarity to get the message out. Thank You

  4. Trina Hurdman Post author

    That is excellent feedback. There are many, many acronyms in the education field. Trustees should always remember that they are representatives of the public and that they must communicate in a way that the public can understand.

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