ed•vocāte’s purpose is to advocate for evidence-based innovations in education and for strengthening support for the public school excellence that is at the foundation of a healthy and prosperous democracy.
ed•vocāte has arisen from experiences that Howard Goodman had during his 11 years as a member of the board of the Toronto District School Board and his decade as a VP of the Ontario School Boards Association. (TDSB’s 30,000+ staff members in 550+ schools support more than 250,000 learners, 70% of whom have parents who were born in other countries; it is the 4th largest school board in North America, with more students than any 6 Ontario universities combined. OPSBA’s 31 member boards help than 2 million students learn). The public schools within TDSB and across Ontario are recognized around the world for their consistent record of high student achievement.
From the vantage point of these governance positions he noted that, despite the excellence of Toronto’s and Ontario’s public schools, a number of good-for-students innovations where ignored, sidelined, or unnecessarily difficult to implement, including those dealing with:
- protocols for safe return-to-learn after concussion
- enhancing the self-regulation capability of students
- responsible governance and effective accountability
- integrating computer technology into learning
- using computer coding, starting in early elementary grades, to teach mathematics and critical thinking
- improving the training available for principals
- understanding how the conditions of a student’s daily life affects the student’s well-being and success at school
- basing school property management and retention on long-term planning principles
- including the needs of students in collective agreements terms
- reducing partisan political interference in school operation
- ensuring that students had access to nutritious food
- promoting the use of evidence as the basis for decision-making.
- establishing a “culture of kindness” in schools in order to increase student and staff well-being and to reduce the amount of student-on-student harassment, exclusion, and other cruel behaviours.
He also was disturbed by on-going and unwarranted attempts by those trying to undermine the reputation of non-religious public schools for ideological and commercial reasons. ed•vocāte is his attempt to ensure that there is a strong voice speaking up for universal public schools.
About ed•vocāte’s founder Howard Goodman: In 2015 OPSBA honoured Howard Goodman with the Dr. Harry Paikin Award for outstanding service by a Public School Trustee. Nominees included parents, educators, fellow Trustees, and community leaders with whom he worked such as Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. John Polanyi, brain-injury expert Dr. Charles Tater, Autism and Self-Regulation researcher Dr. Stuart Shanker, and former Toronto Mayor David Crombie. In 2014 he gained notoriety as a whistle-blower, successfully exposing a series of financial and management irregularities and conflicts of interest taking place at TDSB. Prior to his time in education governance, Howard had successful careers in management consulting, manufacturing, and software development. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science, Engineering Science (Geophysics) from the University of Toronto.