I’ve participated in two all-candidates meetings/debates so far with the TDSB Trustee election. I find it quite surprising that I often am the only one representing specific community needs & interests here in our Ward.
I do not talk broadly about initiatives I’d like to see in our schools. I do not only talk about educational research or provincial/board policies. I speak specific to addressing the needs of our students, families, and communities.
I am often asked if I live in the Ward and have been quite open the fact that I don’t live here. I am finishing my Master program at OISE/University of Toronto, so that has required me to live downtown for the past two years until April 2012.
Despite the fact that I do not live in the Ward, I have made it a key priority to learn about our schools, our families, and Ward 20 in all its diversity. These conversations started my campaign & will continue as your Trustee. Clearly I have not been able to knock on all doors. I want to continue to do so. I want to talk with you. Your stories, experiences, questions, concerns, and ideas are what I bring forward as your Trustee.
Even in the midst of pounding the pavement, I always try to answer your calls, emails, have extended conversations at your door, or meet you for coffee or tea. & for those who I’ve befriended already, we will continue the conversations after February 27 regardless of the outcome.
Vote for me, a true community-oriented and community-grounded voice focused on supporting our students and improving our schools.
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.
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
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.
Ontario educator and blogger Doug Peterson wrote this article on me, entitled “Yoga and Politics.” Some of the things he highlights: how we met, my experiences and perspectives, my social media and technology use, and what I bring to the table as Trustee for Scarborough-Agincourt.
The use of social media just at election time is disingenuous. I know that it’s a relatively new phenomenon to some but I think that I would really have a great deal of respect for someone who promises during her/his campaign to stay connected after the election to provide information directly to we taxpayers. In fact, anyone who promises to live-tweet or live-blog during debates on bills would be guaranteed to get me to look strongly at their candidancy.
Even more impressive would be someone who is a known user of social media to spur conversations, debate issues, take a stand, etc. BEFORE the election. For them to have a position already established and then to slide over to election mode would be the best possible scenario.
Voters in Scarborough-Agincourt have that opportunity in candidate for board of trustees, Monica Batac. Monica is a an established social media user. I first met her at the ISTE Conference in Philadelphia where she was just another Ontario Educator in the pack of us that learned and dined together. At the time, she was going to school to get her Master’s Degree in Teaching. We met up again at the ECOO Conference in Toronto. What I particularly like about these events and the Ontario Educators that went to these two events is that the conversation is certainly not an echo chamber. In our discussions, we talk and push each other to think about the WHYs that go with what we’re doing. That is so helpful.
It was with a smile that I read that Monica was planning to run in Scarborough-Agincourt. Monica has strong ideas and opinions about education and isn’t happy with the status quo. I think that she’s perfectly placed to take on the challenge of representing people in that huge school district.
Many who head into political office do so with a machine behind them. Monica’s working to build a social machine. Whether it’s through her Facebook fan page, Twitter account, orpersonal website, she’s doing her best to build community to help spread her message. Reading the content recently, she does have friends and followers, but not necessarily in Scarborough-Agincourt. Hopefully, that grows as she heads towards the February 27th election date. She did get a little bit of traditional media coverage which can be a challenge in a by-election.
So, how does a first time politician get money to run? There have been a lot of fund raisers that I’ve heard of before but how about attending a Yoga Class together? Is this a sign of new thinking to come? Her friend Colin Harris already has blogged about her thoughts of planning and expecting excellence. These are the sorts of things that we need driving education towards the future.
It would be terrific and a positive sign for the future that candidates who know and use the technology are taking the time to get elected and move the educational system forward. I just wish that I could vote for her.
See full article, click here.
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.