Holy Cross stu­dents ques­tion can­di­dates

The Peterborough Examiner - - Local - MARISSA LENTZ SPE­CIAL TO THE EX­AM­INER

Stu­dents at Holy Cross Sec­ondary School ques­tioned three pro­vin­cial elec­tion can­di­dates Thurs­day morn­ing on ed­u­ca­tion issues.

Peter­bor­ough-Kawartha NDP can­di­date Sean Con­way, Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Dave Smith and Lib­eral in­cum­bent Jeff Leal took the stage in the school’s cafe­te­ria as stu­dents lined up one-by-one to ask their ques­tions.

Trevor Digby, a teacher at the school for 18 years, co-or­di­nated the ques­tion pe­riod.

“If we could have more peo­ple lis­ten to these kinds of ques­tions in this prov­ince, per­haps we could get some­where,” Digby said.

He be­gan or­ga­niz­ing the event the first year there was a pro­vin­cial elec­tion while he was work­ing at the school.

Grade 10 stu­dent Car­men Chung asked the can­di­dates if their par­ties had plans on elim­i­nat­ing the On­tario Sec­ondary School Lit­er­acy Test (OSSLT).

“The On­tario NDP is com­mit­ted to end­ing stan­dard­ized test­ing like EQAO and the Lit­er­acy Test,” Con­way said.

“We feel that teach­ers should not be fo­cused on teach­ing stu­dents a test, they should be fo­cused on teach­ing what they’re sup­posed be.”

Smith said the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive party also wants to get rid of the test.

“I have to agree with my op­po­nents. Af­ter 22 years, it has out­lived most of its use­ful­ness,” Smith said.

Smith em­pha­sized that although he would not be op­posed to elim­i­nat­ing the test­ing, he be­lieves there still needs to be a strong em­pha­sis on lit­er­acy skills.

“When you can read, when you can write, when you can ex­press your­self, it opens up so many dif­fer­ent av­enues for you.”

Chung re­cently wrote the Grade 10 OSSLT and says stu­dents are con­flicted.

“The lit­er­acy test takes place on one sin­gle day and you only get one try,” she said.

“Not ev­ery­one is go­ing to be in their best con­di­tion that day, so some peo­ple think that the marks that you get in your English course should be enough to rep­re­sent that.”

So­cial stud­ies teacher Kelly Adams said tra­di­tion­ally peo­ple be­tween 18 and 25 vote the least.

“You need to start cast­ing an in­formed vote,” Adams said.

“Your right to vote comes with a re­spon­si­bil­ity not only to know and to lis­ten to what these peo­ple would have to say, but have an idea what their par­ties are go­ing to do for us and for you and what it’s go­ing to cost you from a so­cial and eco­nomic perspective.”

On May 30, stu­dents at Holy Cross Sec­ondary School will par­tic­i­pate in a na­tional pro­gram called Stu­dent Vote, which gives stu­dents an op­por­tu­nity to cast a bal­lot even if they are not of vot­ing age yet.

“Our votes that we cast will not im­pact the re­al­ity of the elec­tion, but what our votes will do is let these par­ties know whose ideas we seem to be lik­ing, whose party we would be in­clined to sup­port,” Adams said.

Stu­dent Vote re­sults will be re­leased on June 7.

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