Odyssey for Equality in Education

Episode 19

Some of you who are following these reports will have noticed that about half of the contacts I have made here in Ontario are people from my past. Obviously I am trying to make use of the connections that I have made over the years with people in education or community work. Interestingly for me, in many cases I have not seen the people for as much as 25 years. And as I speak to some of my old friends, they suggest others that have also gone on to positions of responsibility and influence in the education system or broader community.

Noel Martin is one of these. He is a former teaching colleague of mine. He is also the former Director of Education of the Toronto CDSB. Currently, he is the chaplain for the Ontario Catholic Trustees Association. When I contacted him, he spoke to me in a very “official” tone, and asked me what he could do to help me. After we exchanged a few sentences, he became animated and said, “I didn’t realize you were THE Jim Brown.” I was truly flattered!

We had lunch and, as always, shared stories about old times and the adventures we shared. We also looked at the plans I have for helping parents to increase the reading readiness level of their children, especially their sons, before they start school. We agreed that this was likely to be of value and would encourage parents to become more involved in their sons’ education. We also noted that it would probably have the effect of raising the awareness level of teachers and thus have an additional positive consequence.

I indicated that I would send Noel a brief outline of my plan and he assured me that he would try to get it on the agenda of a future meeting of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association. Obviously, I am delighted. Thank heavens for old friends – especially those in high places.

Dr. James S. Brown