Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Interview With Ward 1 and 2 Calgary Public School Trustee Candidate Josh Traptow

This is a continuation of a series of interviews that I will post about local candidates that are running in the 2010 Calgary municipal election. I do not endorse any of the candidates necessarily, unless stated otherwise. The intent is to allow the candidates a forum in which they can share some of their views as I feel that the school trustee candidates often do not get the same amount of attention from the mainstream media as the alderman and mayoral candidates.

This interview is with Josh Traptow who will be running for election as the Public School Trustee in Ward 1 & 2 this term.

Why are you running for the position of school board trustee?

I'm running because I want to make a difference, as a recent former student I saw areas that worked really well in schools and in the system but areas that could be improved upon as well. This also gives me a chance to give back to my community and to a system that I give credit to who I am today. From an early age my parents instilled in me that being involved and giving back to your community is important and this gives me a chance to do just that.

Can you share some of your past volunteer and/or Board of Directors experience?

Volunteering it very important to me, it allows me to be involved in areas I have an interest in. Throughout my K-12 education I was involved in student leadership positions ranging from a member-at-large to co-president. This experience allowed me to work with the school administration and the parent council on making school an enjoyable place for students and teachers to be. I have also been very involved in politics since 2006. I have worked with many Calgary MLAs and cabinet ministers on membership drives, fundraising and during elections. In February of this year I joined the Calgary Stampede's Next Generation Committee which has a mandate to "engage the next generation of audiences as patrons, supporters and volunteers of the Calgary Stampede."

What is your future vision of the education system in Calgary?

My vision is one of education for all, where everyone who enters the CBE graduates with a grade 12 diploma and we have given them the skills to move on to some sort of post secondary school and to be a member of society. We will accomplish this by working with students and parents to see how best students learn and allowing them to do so.

We need to be fiscally responsible, we need to work and live within our means. The province grants us a certain sum of money each year and we need to the best of our abilities work within that budget, teachers and support staff are the last area which should be cut. They are the bread and butter of our schools so to speak and if we are laying them off class sizes are going to increase simply because we don't have enough teachers.

School need to be a cornerstone of their communities, they are already in a sense but we need to find better ways to incorporate them into every day activities. One example I hear time and time again, Valley Ridge (which is in my wards) doesn't have a community centre or school yet. But one way to solve them is to build them a community school, a gym, library and offices/administration area as a permanent structure for the school and community association to share and then to add portables for the classrooms. This idea was developed by the community association and the local MLA and Alderman and they are currently working with the Government of Alberta, the CBE and the City of Calgary on coming up with a plan that works for everyone.

What do you think the future of School Boards are in Alberta. What changes would you make to the school board trustee model?

Trustees need to have a better defined role I think, we need to work with the province on a model that works on a broad perspective but can still be broken down so that it fits each jurisdiction perfectly. We need to find a way that represents all of our constituents, those with kids in the system and those whose kids have graduate or don't have kids’ period. Everyone pays taxes that go towards the school system and they have to have accountable and effective representation. A super board like the province did for health care would not work for schools; each and every jurisdiction is different.

If you could implement one radical idea to improve the school system, what would it be?

Let kids decide what time they want to start in the day, some kids have a really tough time starting to learn at 8 or 8:30, so if by 10 they are wide awake and ready to learn why not do that, the kids have a better learning span and are able to understand more of the material they are being taught. Perhaps there are some teachers as well who prefer to start later as well so it could be a win win for all!

In practical sense this idea wouldn't work very well but hey the question asked for a radical idea

Please visit my website at www.joshtraptow.ca for more information.

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