Tag Archives: policy

Advocating for change at city hall

How to impact change in Toronto
(Column written for Town Crier Dec. 22)

“You say you want a revolution,” the Beatles sang. “Well, you know, we all want to change the world.”
Even if it’s not a revolutionary change you are seeking, here are some tips on preserving a cherished service or advocating for a new policy at city hall.
As I wrote in a previous column, you can achieve small changes by calling 311, your municipal councillor, or by making a deputation at city hall.
But if you are seeking larger policy changes or want to protect services from being slashed, you’ll need a stronger game plan.
Do your research
Councillor Gord Perks is no stranger to activism, dating back to 1987 when he was involved with Pollution Probe, Greenpeace Canada and Toronto Environmental Alliance — all before he entered politics.
“You will have opponents so your information has to be as good or better,” he said.
So know your facts: why does it make economic, social and political sense for policymakers to agree with you? Continue reading

How much homework is enough?

How schools strive for homework, life balance
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier’s Education Guide Dec. 6)

How much homework is too much? Photo courtesy of Evil Erin.

Homework shouldn’t be the focus of a kid’s life. They need time for family, friends and extracurricular activities that help develop them into a well-rounded child.
While theories abound about how much homework is best, schools are working hard to help students achieve a work/life balance.
“About 10-12 years ago the Ministry (of Education) had a new policy for teachers to cover a lot of materials in schools across Ontario,” said Fieldstone Day School’s head of grades 7-12 Josephine Parody. “So there was lots of homework. Then the pendulum swung another way (less homework).”
In fact, it was complaints by parents about the amount of after school work students were given that led the Toronto District School Board to rethink its homework policy.
“The main concern was there were too many hours in the evening assigned to homework, which took away from family time and learning opportunities to participate in extra curricular activities,” said former trustee Josh Matlow, who helped push the policy forward. Continue reading