All kinds of stuff about Ed Hume


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/10/2014 (3086 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The bad news, Ed, is I won’t be doing a profile piece in the paper on you.

And I don’t know if writing about you here constitutes good news….

St. James-Assiniboia SD King Edward/Deer Lodge ward school trustee incumbent Ed Hume wanted me to separate him out from the crowd for a piece in the dead trees edition, and that’s not going to happen, but when he sent me his platform, it was not just jargon and cliches…not limited to promises of transparency and fiscal responsibility and quality education, with no details about how he’d do it, the way you see ‘platforms’ from too many candidates. Instead, ideas you can accept or reject, but ideas he’s fleshed out.

Coincidentally, when Hume emailed me, a letter appeared that same day in my mail slot, in an envelope and everything (ask your grandparents). I brushed the cobwebs out of my mail slot and opened it.

Seems that one of Hume’s would-be constituents believed he had Hume in a gotcha moment.

The voter sent a copy of Hume’s brochure in which Hume listed as accomplishments the new track and soccer pitch at St. James Collegiate and George Waters Middle School. And the helpful correspondent included school board minutes from Oct. 9, 2012, of a recorded vote in which Hume voted against the expenditure.

Oh, that doesn’t look good at all, Mr. or Ms. Voter. Did I mention that all of this was unsigned, just a typed ‘Bourkevale Community Club Volunteer’?

That takes a lot of gumption.

So I asked Hume, and he said, yes, indeed he voted against the project, but he only did so because the Bourkevale CC had yet to vote on giving up part of its property to the school project. When the community club members voted in favour of the project, that’s when he gave his support at the school board.

Anyway, do with his explanation what you will — Hume has some ideas, specific ideas that go beyond platitudes and generalizations.

He said that the corporate board of directors model of governance “doesn’t serve the public that well. We need to move to the Parliamentary model, one where trustees can truly act as elected representatives like councillors, MLA’s, and MP’s and as you correctly put it ‘should be saying whatever you want to — while remaining civil’.”

Hang on out there, no, I don’t pay attention to you just because you agree with me, though, in this case I’ve been pushing like totally forever for trustees to take personal responsibility as elected officials and speak up, be they in the majority or minority on an issue.

Hume also wants to reallocate spending to hold down taxes, and the way to do that is for trustees to make decisions they’ve been leaving to administration. “I feel the problem is that the chief superintendent tends to guard this area and there aren’t enough trustee initiated program reviews!” said Hume.

Ron, I know how much you’d like to jump in here, but you’re such a prudent chap. Let me suggest that Hume consider the possibility that employing administrators who are highly-qualified educators and leaving it up to them to figure out the best ways to implement policies and goals set by the board are sort of how governance is supposed to happen.

Speaking of which, Hume wants school trustees in classrooms, invited in by teachers: “I feel they(trustees) often don’t understand the realities of the modern day classroom. If this were encouraged, in my opinion, trustees would be able to make more informed decisions. They would have their own independent view of what was going on in classrooms rather than having to depend on community gossip and the chief superintendent’s report.”

Ron, feeling like Ed may not be organizing your fan club?

Teachers — and the union can jump in here anytime — do you want school trustees in your classroom? Maybe you’d work harder and make kids smarter if there were trustees looking over your shoulder, just as it sure doesn’t affect the learning environment atmosphere in the room if the principal or area superintendent is at the back of the room jotting down notes, and scowling from time to time.

People keep asking me why I’m not in classrooms telling it as it is, and that’s because no teacher in her or his right mind would ever make a career-dooming move to invite in a reporter without having the principal and superintendent signing off on it.

From there, we move on to s*x…Hume wants ‘a more balanced family life program’.

Specifically, he said, for every Winnipeg Regional Health Authority safe sex poster that goes up in a school, there should be a poster promoting abstinence.

“We don’t spend enough time teaching on this topic. There are some great resources out there that support the abstinence concept. Unfortunately we tend to take a skewed approach to family life programming…Some students can show self-control and some cannot, thus I believe in an equal emphasis on both would benefit all.”

No, Candace, you’re not eligible to vote in St. James.

Finally, Hume is advocating adding non-voting student trustees to the board, who would be elected by their peers.

“It gives students more voice in their own education and helps trustees make more informed decisions…The purpose of student trustees is to advise the board on what they see going in their schools, so again trustees can make better decisions, which ultimately affects them. It also has the potential to get students interested in the political process and we certainly need more of that these days! Student trustees would give their report in the public session and would not be allowed to attend in camera meetings.”

Meanwhile, I see by Hume’s brochure that he’d eliminate one of the three assistant superintendents, and wants trustees involved in the selection of school administrators. I thought trustees voted on who becomes a principal or vice-principal, that that’s what all those closed door meetings are all about in late June and early July, when retirements and transfers set off musical offices. But that’s trustees voting on recommendations from the supes. OK, so don’t leave education up to educators, go ahead and let Ed micromanage — is everyone running in SJASD prepared to put in that much time? — and maybe those trustees can fill in for the fired assistant superintendent while they’re spending all that much time in classrooms.

The man has ideas, and that should be welcomed among all the cliches. So, on Wednesday, Hume is more than just a sort-of-familiar name, and you can judge him on his beliefs and values.

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