By Jen Yang Mezei
I am running for trustee in Burnaby because I want to make a positive difference in our public education system, so children in our community are provided a safe, inclusive learning environment where they can thrive and reach their full potential.
As a former Burnaby district parent advisory council chair, I recognize the importance of collaboration in the district budget process. Working with teachers, CUPE, administration, and parents, the Burnaby school board has managed to retain specialist music teachers and teacher librarians at our schools and tried as much as possible to keep cuts out of the classroom.
Our education system, however, has been underfunded for a long time, and many students with learning challenges are not able to get the resources and supports they need to be able to be meaningfully engaged, included and successful.
As a trustee I will:
- advocate for appropriate provincial funding that reflects the actual costs of operating, upgrading and building schools and provides the resources and supports needed to meet the diverse learning needs of our students;
- promote equitable access to safe, inclusive learning environments that celebrate the diversity in our community;
- support engaging opportunities and programs that reflect the diverse interests of our students including career programs, sports academies, advanced learning, and performing and visual arts;
- support educators as they implement changes to curriculum and assessment and communicate these changes to parents;
- and foster strong collaborative partnerships with our parents, teachers, CUPE staff, administration and community so that informed decision-making reflects local needs and priorities.
For the past decade, I've been a strong advocate for public education in Burnaby and at the provincial level. I presented to the select standing committee on finance and government services during the last provincial budget process to advocate for K-12 education funding with B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.
I got involved in my school because of my children. I have a child on the autism spectrum, and I needed to learn very quickly how to advocate for the supports and services he needed. I understand the challenges many parents face navigating the education system and see the challenges administrators, teachers, and staff face in an underfunded system.
I received the 2010 BCCPAC Parent Leadership Award. I was Burnaby DPAC chair for five years and president of BCCPAC. I've been involved at the district and provincial level on a wide range of educational issues including: Inclusion and special education, curriculum, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), child and youth mental health, Indigenous education, and early learning.
Please support me, Jen Yang Mezei, and the entire Burnaby Citizens Association team, October 20.