Andrew Gasson

Independent for Nanaimo School Board

Misc. topics



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Biography

submitted by the candidate or their team
I value education above all other public goods, and work to attract and maintain the highest quality personnel and facilities while defending the space of public education for the voices of all, regardless of language, ethnicity, sexual orientation or and disability status.

I am a Father of three school aged kids. I am married, I have a dog and a couple of kittens. We have exchange students living with us, and we are loving the time we get to spend together.

I am also a teacher for more than 10 years now. I have experience at the elementary level, high school level and everything in between. I have worked with gifted students, as well as in the indigenous community and with students with identified disabilities. In short, I have a very cross-sectional perspective on the education system, and it is my intense desire to work to buttress those parts of the system that enable accessibility.

Reason for running

submitted by the candidate or their team
Build Access, Facilitate Inclusion, Increase Diversity

Environment

I see the concept of ‘environment’ as constituting the interactions that occur between organic and non-organic matter at scales that begin at the very tiny and end with the very large. See my comments to the NCAH. As for the teaching of climate science, I am extremely for it. As for the creation of environments in which the processes of learning are improved, all I can say is we might want to invest in better HVAC systems on account of the massive number of school days we’ll miss due to increased forest fire frequency wrecking the air quality, extreme heat or cold events and so on.

Facilities and Maintainance

Health and safety

All workers have a right to be healthy and safe at work and the school board should make sure adequate funding is available and that appropriate levels of training are maintained by the staff.

New construction

New construction should always take the long term view that purposes and enrollment are always in flux and therefore creating a lot of specialized spaces, the need for which isn’t a given in the long term, can lead to a situation in which schools run out of usable space. Therefore, new construction should have a general use quality, whereby a space may be good for a variety of purposes. A major balancing point to the above is in the building of specialized spaces for learners with particular types of physical or developmental disabilities. Where feasible, I support new construction that supports learners with these kind of needs.

Maintainance

“A stitch in time saves nine” is extreme wisdom. School facilities are precious, and maintenance on our facilities should never be sacrificed lest we find ourselves with much bigger funding issues down the line.

4. Educational ideology/methodology/praxis

Diversity

Humans are engaged in an evolutionary process, just like every other living thing on the planet. However, humans have a singular ability to comprehend the evolutionary process through empirical research. My opinion is that diversity, in all of its forms is more than just the precious outcome of a long unfolding (though it certainly is precious). It is something that we, as humans, can and should encourage at every opportunity for the health of our own society. The health of a garden is made better by the introduction of diverse organisms just as the education system is made better by the presence of as much diversity as it can handle. Therefore, it is the job of the trustee to fund initiatives that support the strengthening of the mechanisms that allow diversity to flourish.

Inclusion

In order to promote diversity, the education system must be made accessible in as many ways as possible. Nobody, regardless of place of origin, gender or sexual identity, langauge or disability status should be locked out of the system. Inclusion access includes providing resources and points of contact for people that are frequently overlooked. By expanding our notion of who is part of the education system, we can help more people become active participants in the program of creating a just and prosperous society.

Empically directed practice

Continuously improving instruction and assessment is a vital component of the education system. The way you get there is to encourage a movement away from the teacher-as-autocrat of their own classroom approach to school organization and move towards a community based model where teachers are empowered to create free associations between each other that allow both the instruction and assessment functions of education to happen in community, Promoting a culture of continuous professional development amongst educators is vital to breaking free from the prison of tradition that sees the teacher as the queen of her domain, and to start seeing the whole school as a community that has a lot to give each other.

LGBTQ2S+, racial and other issues of personal identity

Every human that walks upon the earth has the right to exist upon the principle that they should not do harm to their neighbours. By every worthwhile ethical argument, every child on this earth has a right to exist exactly as they are without prejudice against them. Therefore, as candidate for school trustee, I practice a philosophy of radical inclusion towards the entire learning community. Who-so-ever should find themselves in contact with the school system at which-so-ever point of contact should be able to find themselves able to connect with others within the community. To whatever degree that it is possible, everybody within the educational community - teachers, parents, outside community members and especially children themselves, should feel like their perspectives are part of the overall design of the education system.

Ethical issues

The public education system must be kept to the strictest of ethical standards. It must act to ensure the safety of the students above all else. It must also ensure that the employees of the district are treated with equity and respect. The district must not show partiality towards political views, but lives with the tension that there are some views that have the potential to cause harm to the school community if not presented in a contextualized and developmentally appropriate way. The school board has a duty to resist domination by any single ideological faction in order to bring a diversity of views to the table. The school board should seek consensus where possible, and use the mechanisms of voting to make necessary decisions where consensus cannot be reached.