The Promise of Public Education in Hamilton

It always amazes me that some of our most important public events often draw the fewest citizen spectators. Tonight I had the opportunity to observe the inaugural 2011/12 meeting of the Hamilton Wentworth District Public School Board. In addition to trustees, staff and media there may generously have been a handful of citizens to witness the election of Tim Simmons as the new Chair and Robert Barlow as Vice Chair (with thanks to Judith Bishop for her exemplary service as past Chair). The remarks of Chair Simmons and Director John Malloy were both blunt and inspired, calling on trustees to make bold decisions about the future of our public schools with a focus on students, innovation and equity. The decisions about school closings (and the opportunity for new construction) that will be taken in the year ahead will be profoundly challenging, but present an historic opportunity to reshape education for the better in Hamilton. As a community, we need to find ways to support and celebrate the courage to make the right choices for our children. I left the Education Centre this evening with a sense of hopefulness about the journey ahead.