Newcomer Families in Scarborough-Agincourt – No vote, no voice?

Four days until the campaign is over & I wish I had documented more of my experiences on my blog.  It has been eye-opening running this “grassroots” campaign & I’m sure after February 27, I will blog extensively about the experience.

From Day 1, I have been knocking on the doors of Scarborough-Agincourt residents not only asking them to vote for me, but to chat about their experiences, ideas, and concerns around education. This has been the foundation of my campaign.  We talk about student support, parental involvement and community consultation in broad terms but what do those truly mean?

My platform has refined and continues to refine on Scarborough-Agincourt’s diverse needs. I know this list will grow & change.  Yet one thing is for sure. Our newcomer students are in desperate need of additional support in our schools.

I have spoken openly about continuing to advocate for more of our allocated ESL dollars to be spent on ESL.  However, newcomer students need more than ESL.  Newcomer families need more than translations and services that help them understand our school system.  Newcomers need more than referrals.

I can write chapters about the experiences of our newcomer families here in Scarborough-Agincourt, seriously.  & I will share this openly and vocally as Trustee.  Though imagine, these families and these students have limited access to support specifically because language is in and of itself a barrier. Specific to this campaign, these newcomers do not even have the opportunity to vote to support a candidate who can advocate for their children.

Newcomer families in Scarborough-Agincourt have no vote but their voices are dying to be heard.

Who will listen? Who will take action?

Eye opening, I tell you.

Media Coverage #4, includes interview

Here’s a Digital Journal feature article about me, my platform, and some of my perspectives on TDSB & the Trustee role, written by Andrew Moran.

TDSB Trustee candidate Monica Batac wants to innovate classrooms
Full URL: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/319209

Excerpt:

During municipal elections, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustee contests usually do not garner much attention from voters or media outlets, but that could change this year as two by-elections are being held in Ward 17 Don Valley East and Ward 20 Scarborough-Agincourt.

Ward 20 voters will have 14 candidates to choose from on Feb. 27, including an exuberant Monica Batac, a classroom teacher who is completing her Master of Teaching degree at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute of Studies in Education.

DigitalJournal.com spoke with Batac to find out what makes her qualified to become a school trustee, understand the importance of such a position, what the TDSB can do to improve education and public awareness of trustee elections.

Read full article here.

The new year brings a new trustee – my campaign begins…

On our first day of 2012, I would like to share an important message with you.

It is with the overwhelming support of my family and many colleagues, friends, and mentors that I will be running in the by-election for Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustee for Ward 20 – Scarborough-Agincourt.  I am excited & encouraged for the next two months of campaigning.  I hope you will come along for the ride.

Over the past few months, I have considered the range of career opportunities available after graduation. Anything and everything under the sun has been suggested- from oversea teaching gigs, employment with local boards, to tutoring.  I’ve considered continuing my studies or entering the private sector.  As some of you may know, I have not been 100% convinced that one opportunity was better suited for me than another.

I have spent the last two years navigating and switching between my identities as student, teacher, educator/mentor, researcher, community member, and advocate.  Yes, I am a multi-purpose, multi-identity stakeholder in education.  Becoming the Trustee for Ward 20 would allow me to continue this often messy, complex, yet invigorating work.  This time though, it is beyond informal conversations with peers or teachers – it is with the stakeholders themselves and with some weight in decision-making.

My reflections, learning, and experiences have always brought me back to the big picture, the critical implications of our definitions, practices, and values of teaching, learning, and education.  Would you agree there is dissonance in what is and what could be?

We all know we’ve got work to do.  Let’s get the votes.