Municipal Election 2014

Proactive Role for Education in Reducing Poverty (Candidate Submission)

By providing our children and youth with a wholesome, well-rounded education, we can play a proactive role in ensuring they have the skills and abilities to get them further in life.

By Sarah Warry-Poljanski
Published October 26, 2014

My name is Sarah Warry-Poljanski. I am a mother of two, an addictions worker and a concerned member of the community. I also happen to be running for Public School Board Trustee for Ward 7 Central Mountain in this years' municipal election.

During this election, I have heard many residents voice their concerns about poverty, housing, access to services and many other social issues.

I actually attended all of the People's Platform forums in the city. I was there as a resident giving ideas and participating in discussions on enriching the lives of all the residents in our great city.

This election has brought up some good subjects and has the potential to help bring solutions to at least several of our main areas of concern.

Education and Poverty

While we are focused on the issues we face today and are ready to work on trying to solve them, there is something that we can do at the same time to solve some issues before they even happen.

We have been ignoring one of the most pertinent factors in eradicating poverty and giving people a better quality of life. This is through education.

Through education, our children learn and grow. They learn how to think, process information and how things work. They learn how to read, write, do math and learn a variety of other skills necessary to get by each day. Education helps students go on to acquire a job, start a business and enter into a career to make lives for themselves.

Restore our Education System

While many areas of the world don't offer a universal education system to children, here we are not only watching our schools become decrepit but also watching the system itself become self-regulating.

For the most part nowadays, if the public disagrees with something happening in our schools, nothing really changes. We have let things slip for way too long and there is no better time than now to try and restore our education system for our children and their futures.

What's Been Happening

If you have no children currently attending a local public school, let me fill you in to what's been happening.

Kids no longer know their times tables, spelling is left for machines to tend to, and I don't think many kids are able to obtain a passport or government identification as they don't have a signature since someone decided cursive writing just wasn't important anymore.

Schools are being shut down because the Ministry of Education has a funding formula that is outdated and makes little sense.

The number of students sitting on a bus to get to school in the city is about to go up, along with the cost to cover said transportation. This is money that could be used in areas such as student achievement and things that matter.

One in three residents I speak to have a huge concern about the lack of support for students with learning disabilities and mental health diagnoses. There aren't enough educational assistants in the classrooms to help those who have difficulties working on their own and there is still an assumption by some that all kids have the same learning patterns and abilities.

We are closing schools that are designed to help our youth with identified learning difficulties because it's "financially responsible" and the board sees no other reason to keep them open.

Proactive Role

And here's where we come back full circle to education, poverty and quality of life.

By providing our children and youth with a wholesome, well-rounded education, we can play a proactive role in ensuring they have the skills and abilities to get them further in life.

So ask yourself on Monday when you hit the polls: Do I want to help play a role in the betterment of Hamilton's education system? If so please make sure to vote for a trustee, your vote does matter and counts more than you know.

It is time to fill the table at the Board of Education with people who will be focusing on quality education, preventative measures and putting proactive budgets and policies together to enrich the quality of life for our students so they have better futures today.

Good luck to all of the candidates in this years' election. Together we can make the change and change the future.

Sarah Warry-Poljanski is a local education, political, and social activist and ran in the 2014 election for public trustee. She is the mother of two school-aged children. You can follow her on twitter @sarahwpoljanski.

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By Contrarian Frank (anonymous) | Posted October 28, 2014 at 14:45:59

LOTS AND LOTS of HS educated Ontarians can't do this.

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