Durham Public School Trustee Candidate and Peel Public School Trustee Candidate for Wards 1&7 Co-host Zoom on reimagining the public school system for the future - with a focus on curriculum and real estate strategy

Public School System For the Future


Future Is Broken

October 11, 2022, 08:01 AM ET

TORONTO, October 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As part of the GenZ listening tour, the Future Is Broken hosted the second of five Zoom town halls with the goal to build awareness and explore with different stakeholder groups the potential opportunities for schools to serve as community hubs and to re-imagine learning for all ages in the community. 

John Ingold (Durham) and Paul Skippen (Peel Wards 1&7) facilitated the second town hall. They brought together volunteer panelists, Hazel Mason (Retired Superintendent of Education; Site Manager of Modern Learners Community), Ayesha Shafiq (SVP Real Estate Capital Markets, Colliers International), and Julie Smithson (Co-founder of MetaVRse), in discussing the school curriculum strategy and global best practices, real estate strategy and global best practices, and disruptive technologies – like metaverse – and it’s impact on education.  

Key quotes from the town hall:
School Curriculum Strategy and Global Best Practices
School curricula changes are slow to nonexistent and do not always reflect the evolving societal needs. Paul framed the conversation with, ”Pre-internet 1960s is when we updated the curriculum. We haven’t really updated the curriculum since before the internet. For me, we should be designing for the future. When we say the future is broken, we mean tomorrow is broken based on the path we are currently on.”  This sentiment was echoed by the panelists with Hazel commenting that the system “ignores the many diverse voices of society and those who were here before, those who originally helped build Canada and those that are new. We need a curriculum where everyone can bring their own unique perspective and lived experience to share in the learning”. Additionally, she added Finland, as an example, where the system values teachers and children, “Treat teachers as chefs, not line cooks as they are more creative and innovative…  resulting children being the same: value outdoor play and exploration”.

Reimagining the Real Estate Strategy 

Schools hold one of the biggest real estate portfolios in Ontario. However, these spaces are being utilized less than 60% of the time, have run-down buildings with cancer-causing asbestos, and have poor to non-existent HVAC.  Often schools are kept open even though they lack the student population density. And yet school boards largely missed the opportunity to tap into Federal Government Green Grants and with an Affordability Housing Crisis and the Federal government looking to invest. Schools, as one of the largest land owners, seem to have no real estate strategy to take advantage of this and rebuild Community Hubs that could meet the needs of all citizens – as well as provide much needed affordable housing that is ideally Net-zero. Ayesha observed that the “School boards, largest landowner, sit on highly valued land but haven’t taken advantage.  They can use it to take money out of the real estate to invest back in the system.” Additionally, she explained that “Canada lags” behind other countries on space use maximization and is “not as good at proactively managing their real estate portfolio ”. 

Inside the school, students learn under outdated environmental systems that could potentially be harmful to their health (e.g., asbestos in schools). John offered the Gen Z audience with, “As you look at yourself growing into an adult, you’ll get an opportunity to weigh in on environmental factors and the many ways the school can be better and on the actual environmental activities that could be taken by schools, on what needs to happen to manage the climate change.”  Additionally, John exclaimed about environmental inefficiencies, “Photocopying, why do schools need to use paper anymore, why do they need to have photocopiers!” 

Physical vs. Metaverse

Is the school system ready to play a role in the metaverse? As of the announcements from Meta we can basically say the Metaverse will be fully live and in 3-D in the next 30-days. How will schools prepare for this? Julie explained that the metaverse is “not just a game anymore. We are talking about real-world applications that are starting to save lives, make changes, and save money. Until now we’ve always learned through screens, paper, or books. There is this massive system that is growing really quickly and the school system is in no way able to teach the skills that are needed.”

The Zoom town hall series continues with: 

October 13, 2022 – Diversity, equity, and inclusion in schools and additional community services 

October 18, 2022 – Digital education opportunities for children and youth 

October 20, 2022 – Digital security for children and youth

GenZ youths are encouraged to join future Zoom calls and share their opinions and as well to join our Discord to discuss their thoughts and perspectives. Please use the contact information below to be invited to the Zoom calls.

About Future Is Broken:

Future Is Broken is a jointly sponsored series of educational Zooms by the Paul Skippen Trustee campaign and the John Ingold Trustee campaign. People have varying opinions on whether or not they think the Public School system is working today – but almost everyone agrees that we are not on the right path for what our children and youth need for the future. The Future Is Broken. This series is exploring the different problems various stakeholders see and challenges everyone to help #reimagine something that works for all. 

Future Is Broken


Paul Skippen

Peel Public School Trustee Candidate Wards 1&7




John Ingold

Durham Public School Trustee Candidate 




Future Is Broken (futureisbroken.org) website and co-hosted Zoom series of discussions are jointly sponsored by the John Ingold and Paul Skippen Trustee campaigns. 

About the panelists: 

Hazel Mason, Retired SuperIntendent of Education and Site Manager of Modern Learners Community

Ayeha Shafiq, SVP Real Estate Capital Markets Colliers International 

Julie Smithson (Co-founder of MetaVRse and XR Women)