Don Stuart, candidate for TDSB Public School Trustee is Ward 18 Scarborough Southwest responds to Parthi's Townhall.
Parthi’s Last Minute “Town Hall”
After listening to the Town Hall I was left with the following thoughts:
Conclusion: perspective and wisdom come with experience. I found all three were lacking in this broadcast.
We heard a moderated structure with predetermined poll questions to highlight Parthi’s platform more than the filtered questions that were allowed to air. We are all dissatisfied with trustee performance. No one should be pleased with low EQAO scores. We all want excellent teachers and only the best of everything for our children.
This was a platform that reflects the significant views of a new classroom teacher. It does not show knowledge or understanding of the job description of the trustee, the organizations structure of the board or who the system leaders are working in that structure.
An awesome interview for an entry level teaching job with the TDSB showing passion, commitment and deeply meaningful classroom experience. As a principal, I would hire him as a teacher if I could get through the complicated hiring process of the TDSB. But he never mentions that getting those excellent teachers is not a trustee’s job. The hiring system is negotiated by the board with teacher unions within a framework set by the ministry and board policy.
To suggest that he can improve math and reading scores and daily physical education shows thathe does not understand that these issues are framed by the ministry; that the trustee’s job is to oversee that the ministry requirements are met across the system; that the trustees job is not to directly and individually interfere with the running of the schools on any matter.
Parthi showed he has no knowledge of the current TDSB teacher performance appraisal (TPA) that has been a difficult negotiated process in place for the last 9 years or so. It is rigourous, time consuming and as objective as it can be at the moment. It is an existing work in progress.
Parthi did not acknowledge that the report card process and its language comes from the ministry. Yes the language is a problem. The process is a problem. But a classroom teacher is not going to change it. Furthermore, that principals should read over all report cards to ensure quality communication speaks to his lack of understanding of the logistics this job would take and who should do it. In elementary schools, maybe lead teacher or administrators, in secondary schools maybe department heads or VP’s who may have to look over 1,000 report cards four time a year. Principals in private schools usually do this because the numbers are small and the reports confirm the parent’s choice of such schools.
Parthi does agree that the Kindergarten classes are large but only gives part of the reason. The board may well be trying to save money. But the ministry did not put a cap on the class size on Kindergarten as they have in other primary grades, thus forcing the board into the present position. The ministry has also said it is reviewing their policy in this area based on public complaints.
Parthi’s teaching experience in TDSB has been at only 2 elementary schools for practice teaching for his Master’s of Teaching degree. Again, unmentioned, the ministry has now moved to 2 and sometimes 4 year teaching programs in Ontario. His experience overall is limited to 4 years in a private school with very different conditions.