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Why vote for a school trustee? My kids are grown up/I don’t have kids

October 1, 2013

Here is an article that I recently had published in the Sept. 11, 2013 issue of the Edmonton Examiner:

As I have been door knocking lately, I have come across citizens who tell me that they are not going to vote for a school trustee because their children are grown up or they do not have children. They believe that for them, checking an X on this ballot is not relevant. Here is my argument for why this segment of the population ought to vote for a school trustee.
First of all I ask them if they own the house they are currently living in. If they say yes, I ask them if they believe the closure of a school in their neighbourhood will impact their property values. They usually say yes. I explain that school trustees make the decision whether schools remain open or not. Suddenly they understand why they need to know who is running for school trustee and what their policy is on school closures. I know for myself, I didn’t know what power a school trustee had until I joined my community of Woodcroft in an unsuccessful bid to save the Woodcroft Elementary School in 2008. It is because of this experience that I have chosen to run as a school trustee this election.
I then talk to these non-trustee voters about their future. School trustees decide the direction that education will take for the future and the qualities instilled in our children. The document Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans, 2010 talks about a major goal of Alberta’s education system is to produce “creative, innovative and ethical citizens”. So to those who think that voting for a school trustee is not relevant to them, I ask if they care that this vision is realized. Do they want the nurse, the doctor, the LPN who is attending them in their future nursing home to have these qualities? If so, perhaps they better vote for a candidate who is focused on realizing this vision!
Next I remind them that they are paying school taxes anyway so they may as well have a say in who gets to spend their tax dollars.
Finally, I broach them with less selfish reasons for why they should become educated about the candidates running in their ward. Do they not want to ensure that the best candidate gets elected for the sake of the children and families in their neighbourhood? Our children deserve smart, well informed, good people to lead our schools. Please, I say, contribute to making our schools the best they can be just because this is a good thing to do.
If we live in society, we are all connected in some way to one another. Whether you are young, old, have children or grandchildren or neither, it is important to be educated about who is running as school trustee for your ward. We live in a democratic society with the privilege to vote. Let’s do so and do it as well informed and caring citizens.

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