TTC? Yes, Please! (and Thank You)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the TTC is giving Weston something to be thankful for. As transit goers may have noticed, the TTC has been rolling out a few changes in the past month to make service more accessible and reliable, and will be continuing this Thanksgiving long week-end. In September, they implemented the new numbering for express routes, changing the existing numbers (like the 195 Jane Rocket and the 54E Sheppard Express) to 900 numbering, to make it easier to identify these routes and to add consistency. They have also added green badges on express bus stops for this same purpose.

Rolling out this weekend is the addition of three new routes: the 952 Lawrence West Express, the 989 Weston Express and the 929 Dufferin Express. Though no bus stop lists for either of the routes that run through Weston have been released yet, one can, based on other express routes, make the assumption that these busses will stop at all major intersections. The 952 will run between Lawrence station and Pearson airport. The 989 will operate only during morning and afternoon rush hours. Both routes will have updated schedules as well to make the routes more consistent and accommodate for the new express busses.

These express routes not only help residents in the area get to work faster and easier, it will also hopefully stop the bunching of the 52 busses and bring more people into the neighbourhood. This also allows for an easier commute for students who take TTC, in particular, Weston Collegiate students who commute from Rexdale for the IB and SHSM programs offered. Though this will not ease congestion on the road, it will ease congestion on busses, allowing for a more comfortable commute. There are plans for future upgrades to the system, but already we are seeing big steps forward for our little part of the city. Further information can be found on the TTC website.

Ontario Consults Parents On Their Children’s Futures

Following up with my last story on the Ontario health education curriculum, there has been an update. The Ontario Government has now launched their website to consult with parents about different curricula throughout Ontario. Their website states that they will be addressing concerns such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, job skills, specifically relating to skilled trade and coding, teaching students valuable life skills like financial literacy, use of technology in classrooms, improving standardised tests (ie. EQAO), a new health education curriculum as well as developing a Parents’ Bill of Rights. The health ed curriculum has been a hot topic of debate since it was implemented and more recently when it was rolled back to 1997 by the Ford Government. Some parents welcomed this return to the old curriculum because they felt that it would be best to tech students certain aspects as home, when they feel appropriate, while others saw this as an attack on student knowledge and a return to the stone-age, so to speak. This web page allows for every voice to be heard, but not only about health education.

STEM programs are growing in many schools and there are summer and march break camps being offered in this field, as many people feel this is the future of the job market. They are also asking for feedback on managing cellphones in classrooms, which is an increasing phenomenon among students; it seems that every other child at the age of 6 or higher has a cellphone or tablet and nearly every student in middle school has one somewhere on their person. The most intriguing issue that they are looking to address and get feedback on is the addition of skills like financial literacy into the curriculum. This could be as basic as teaching students the value of money to something as complicated as investing or doing your own taxes, which can give students more confidence when faced with these important decisions.

You can participate by following the link https://www.ontario.ca/page/for-the-parents. Open submissions are open. You can choose to fill out a private online form through their link or email your submissions to fortheparents@ontario.ca with the subject line “Provincial Consultations” by including your name and attaching your submission as a PDF or Word Document. There will also be an online survey and a telephone town hall to come.

Back to School, Back to 1998

School is back in session, and these first few weeks have surely been hectic as parents and students get back in the groove of the scholastic year. Teachers have also had to get back in the swing of things with not only new students but a new curriculum, or should I say old. Before this school year started, the Ford government rolled back the sex ed curriculum to that of 1998, scrapping the 2015 version for a “new” version that is to be released in the future, once more consulting is done with parents and teachers. The old curriculum fails to include conversations about cyber bullying and consent, among a few other things. Curriculum nights are coming up for most schools, it may be worth having a chat with your child’s teacher and asking them what they intend to teach. TDSB and TCDSB trustees have made statements that they will be following the 2015 curriculum, but it never hurts to be certain about what is being taught.

Children today are not children from twenty years ago. They are surrounded every day by technology and media, much of which we as adults have a hard time sifting through. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites are easily accessible, especially when it appears every other child has a smart device.  If the Ontario Government feels it is essential to roll back changes, it may be time to have a serious look at what our children are being taught and put in our two cents. You can access both versions of the curriculum on the government of Ontario website or through a simple google search, if you would like to have a look for yourself.