|Schoolhouse image from creative commons, copyright Caitlyn Willows
There’s a school of thought out there that goes something like this: well, you make do with what you’ve got. And that should be good enough, right?
Wrong. I don’t buy it. This is not a picture of our school, but it is a symbol of what that phrase stands for to me. If we all made do with what we’ve got there would never be any progress and our kids would all still be sitting in one room schoolhouses with no heating and doing math on tiny handheld slates. Guess what? We aren’t. I am stunningly sick of this platitude that is thrown out to keep people from complaining or advocating for change.
And that brings me to our school, Huron Heights public school overflowing with about 430 children in a school meant for 200 and some. We had a renovation scheduled to begin this year. We went through the acommodation review a few years ago. It was determined we would stay where we are and get a renovation. Our building is old. Our portables multiply yearly. We are a French immersion school and as we all know registration at French immersion schools in Canada has exploded over the past decade. On assembly days we shift groups around like dominoes because all of our students can’t fit in the gym. And when parents show up for things that nurture community and build school spirit – as they did at Christmas – well people are spilling unsafely our the doors. Children too. I could live with all of that if it wasn’t for the fact that these are children. And they are getting the short end of the stick.
Our school had a plan, a design. We saw it drafted and ready to roll. And the renovation would have been challenging for sure. Change always is, but we would have gladly endured. So why did the plan get shelved? Millions of dollars spent rolling out full day kindergarten has meant that certain FRILLS like school renovations got prioritized. Those schools that needed immediate space for FDK rooms jumped the queue. I am not against FDK in any way, nor do I think it is the answer for every child or every family. But don’t feed me the line about we’ll make do because children should rarely have to make do.
What would you do if you if your child’s school had more children in the portables than inside the building itself?