No matter where you are, the importance of access to an accessible, barrier free, and quality education something that is shared across the world. In Scarborough, education becomes even more important since it provides an opportunity and the ability for youth to lead the way in how Scarborough will be shaped in the future. If Scarborough is to develop, education needs to be seen as a focus and needs to be prioritized. More needs to be done to both tackle the issues of affordability and quality in all levels of education, and also provide better support networks to help students perform better in school, and help them transition between the different levels of education.
Some current and upcoming issues affecting education are: affordability, class sizes, merit pay, safe school environments, and extra curricular activities (you can read more about them below). The youth are the future, and with current budgetary cuts being proposed by the different levels of government, the importance of education needs to reinforced. Education should be seen as an investment rather than an expense; “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Respect Scarborough is committed to advocating on this issue so that a fully accessible and quality education is available to all Scarborough residents.
Affordability: In recent years, some school have started putting some form of fees that need to be paid for a child to be able to attend the school, or participate in class. Money should never be a barrier when it comes to education. The problem becomes worse with tuition fees for post-secondary studies, of which Ontario has the highest in Canada. The province should be directing more funds into the different levels of education to truly make getting an education fully accessible.
Class sizes: To provide a quality education, there needs to be meaningful student- teacher interactions. The need for smaller class sizes (especially in the younger grades) is really important so that teachers can facilitate better learning environments.
Merit pay: Merit pay is a system where teachers get paid depending on the performance of their students. There are many reasons why this is not a good idea. But mainly, this focus of pay based on student achievement starts to alter other goals of the education system. The priority is no longer the child’s development, but the desire for teachers to teach to the tests in order to receive more pay.
Safe School Environments: Because school is a place where a child spends 8 or more hours a day, the need to make sure schools are a safe and accepting environment becomes important. From taking measures to prevent bullying, to having students set up support networks such as GSAs, creating equitable schools is a priority.
Extra Curricular Activities: Even though a lot of student learning happens within the classroom, a lot of learning also takes place outside of the classroom. Being able to provide the ability and resources for students to engage in extra curricular activities are important. Schools should provide incentives for teachers, as well as encourage students to pursue their passions within the education system. From joining a basketball team, to playing chess at lunch, extra curricular activities serve as a strong pillar in creating a strong educational system.
For those within the TDSB system and want to speak to somebody about these or other issues, here are your Scarborough school trustees:
Ward 18 – Scarborough Southwest
Ward 19 – Scarborough Centre
Ward 20 – Scarborough-Agincourt
Ward 21 – Scarborough-Rouge River
Ward 22 – Scarborough East
For those in the TCDSB, here are your trustees in Scarborough:
John Del Grande