By Dale Woodard on October 7, 2021.
A better curriculum option both from the provincial rollout standpoint as well reconciliation strategy are key issues as Henry Jacobs throws his hat into the ring for public school trustee.
The candidate, with a strong background in broadcasting, media and marketing and the father of two, has focused on both.
“I do not support the current proposed curriculum that the provincial government has put forward. I think it puts our children at a disadvantage moving into both post-secondary life and applicable education we need to compete against the global markets,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs said if COVID has taught anything, it’s a movement towards a more technological-based work force.
“Our kids need the starting tools to be successful, whether that’s early on financial literacy, because our kids will more than likely have to work as independent contractors in their life and they’ll need to understand what money is, how it works and how you invest in it,” he said.
“They need to understand technology and the science behind it. I want to sit at the table and work with the provincial government in developing a curriculum that puts our kids at an advantage and is free of special interest group influence. I want education needs for my children that will apply globally, provincially and federally to be effective in finding themselves a post-secondary institution or going out and competing in the work force.”
The second factor, said Jacobs, is looking at the regional and provincial reconciliation strategy when it comes to developing a curriculum that meets the needs of the committment to Indigenous reconciliation.
“I think that extends to making the classroom a safe space not only for our Indigenous youth, but also for our LGBTQ youth and our youth that may be from ethnic minorities or might be from regional minorities with language differences,” he said. “I think the classroom needs to be open and welcoming for all. I think everyone has something to contribute to the classroom and we need to find a curriculum as well as working atmosphere that gives those kids a chance to feel part of a larger picture. Public education, I believe, needs to be the delivering of an equal opportunity to learn to all kids.”
Jacobs, who was born and raised in Ottawa and has lived in Lethbridge for roughly eight years, said some of the questions he’s been asked from families through his campaign is how he feels about private schools and public funding.
“At the end of the day I want a system where all kids have the chance, no matter their background, to learn, excel and grow without a two-tiered system that provides elite education for one level of financial class and a different level of education for another. I think that stems into the reconciliation piece pretty heavily. It’s a curriculum development that makes kids feel welcome.”
Jacobs said an important piece as a trustee is opening up the doors to communications with families as well as transparency on exactly what a trustee does.
“I’m comfortable with social media and technology and I want to utilize initiatives on my own, not necessarily driven by the board,” said Jacobs, who currently sits as the president of the Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra Association. “All trustees try to be as available to families as possible and at the same time we might have to do a little more education on exactly how much a trustee can do to affect change. I want to do those things.”
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