By Julian Prieto
As an educator and mathematician, I am running for the Vancouver school board to give parents and young people more choice, and to encourage innovation from teachers, based on the premise that everyone learns differently and should be equally supported.
The school board has a budget of $600 million, hires staff, offers mini-schools, special needs and art programs, and influences earthquake resistance of schools. On October 20, on the same ballot as voting for mayor, we will select nine members to send to that board.
There are two pressing challenges for the next elected trustees: how to reduce shortages of out-of-school care and how to offer basic financial literacy to kids. Parents who work 9 to 5 and cannot pick up their kids from school. They face long waiting lists for YMCA and other providers that operate on-school premises after 3 p.m.
At present, school facilities are not being maximized, so this results in small capacity for these services. I am proposing opening up the use of gyms, classrooms, and the full space of schools so that care programs are abundant and affordable.
I am proposing that young people learn how to budget, file taxes, and save for retirement while at school. Since the Fortster Education Act of 1870, which made universal education mandatory, there have been raging debates about what children should learn: practical or fundamental, carpentry or philosophy? Perhaps a solution is a lot of individual choice, together with the basics. And beyond reading and writing, what could be more useful than learning how to deal with money?
I would like to give kids the chance to become familiar with RRSPs, mortgages, and useful skills, and introduce lesson plans suitable for different ages. Important habits can be built early, and can better prepare young people for global opportunities.