I write to invite you to a Town Hall on “Better than Bill 64” It is now widely recognized that Bill 64 is a bad bill because it takes us backwards, it will reduce local input into education, it will reduce the ability of schools to help disadvantaged students, it is not an approach which will work for Indigenous students and it will use a model which has been ineffective and rejected elsewhere. There are much better approaches than Bill 64. This Town Hall will focus on such approaches.
Title: “Better than Bill 64: Ideas to improve education”
Time and Date: On the evening of Thursday June 17th at 7 pm. The zoom Town Hall will begin at 7 pm, with the formal part of the Town Hall expected to be over by about 8 pm or perhaps a bit after depending on the number of questions and interest in the Town Hall.
Goal: The Town Hall will explore various options for improving education to provide a better future for education in Manitoba than is proposed in Bill 64.
The panelists will include:
Doug Adams and Heather Shelton – Competency based education
Victoria Romero – Project based education
Sheva Schwartz – Leadership based education
Niigaan Sinclair – Indigenous education
Raj Gill – Immigrant education
Zoom Meeting ID: 812 3416 9772
If you would like to sign a petition for a requirement to have a referendum before Bill 64 can pass, this is the link.
Change.org online petition: https://www.change.org/p/winnipeg-calling-for-a-referendum-on-bill-64-education-reform/psf/promote_or_share
If you would like a sign in your yard to join the campaign to raise awareness and help Manitobans realize the problems that Bill 64 will create, you can order a sign. Click on this link for more information on getting a sign: http://jongerrardsreport.blogspot.com/2021/04/say-no-to-bill-64.html
Biographies of Panelists:
Doug Adams is a retired teacher who taught for many years at a very diverse school – the New Era School in Brandon. The school has many indigenous children and many children of new immigrants. Together with Heather Shelton, Doug developed an approach which put children in classes based on the skill and knowledge level of the child instead of being based on the age of the children as is the usual process. Doug and Heather found that this approach was remarkably successful. Children learned better when they were with peers of the same ability even if they were not in the same age group. Children were often at different levels in different subjects so the classes were not “slow learner” and “fast learner” classes and children did not feel stigmatized. In addition to improved learning results in this diverse group of children, an additional positive result was that behavioural and disciplinary problems decreased dramatically as children felt they were being taught at the level at which they could learn better. The assignment of children to classes based on skill or competence appears to be helpful to all children, and particularly to those children who might struggle in a traditional age-based classroom.
Heather Shelton has had twenty-eight years of experience in the classroom. Twenty-seven of those years were in a core-area classroom. She has had an additional ten years of experience as a substitute teacher and two of her grandchildren attend Manitoba Schools.
Victoria Romero is a first year Arts student studying political science at the university of Manitoba. Victoria has a strong passion for enriching the lives of others and has volunteered through various organizations such as The St Amant Centre, North Point Douglas Womens Centre and the Canadian Cadet Organization.
Sheva Schwartz is a first-year student at the University of Winnipeg studying Political Science. As a delegate to the 2021 Liberal National Convention with the Manitoba Young Liberals, Sheva sponsored and presented the Interprovincial Power Grid resolution. Sheva is working for Dr. Gerrard as a summer student and also enjoys teaching cello on weekends. Sheva will talk about the importance of putting a priority on teaching leadership skills to all children in order for them to succeed in school.
Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair is Anishinaabe (St. Peter's/Little Peguis) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba. He is a regular commentator on Indigenous issues on CTV, CBC, and APTN. He has written extensively on Indigenous perspectives. He is the co-editor of the award-winning Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water (Highwater Press, 2011) and Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World Through Stories (Michigan State University Press, 2013), and is the Editorial Director of The Debwe Series with Portage and Main Press. Niigaan obtained his BA in Education at the University of Winnipeg, before completing an MA in Native- and African-American literatures at the University of Oklahoma, and a PhD in First Nations and American Literatures from the University of British Columbia. Niigaan will provide a perspective on how we can best improve education for Indigenous people in Manitoba, and also on how we can improve our education systems so that non-Indigenous people will have better knowledge and understanding of Indigenous people.
Raj Gill is a grade 12 student who came with his family from India to Manitoba two and a half years ago. He has been attending St. Maurice School, and has experienced the challenges of a new immigrant to Canada in Manitoba’s school system. Based on his experience he has ideas on how we can make changes which will enable new immigrants like himself to do well.