We would like to commend the Toronto District School Board for the bold actions outlined in the Director's Response to the Enhancing Equity Taskforce Report – we believe this may start to move us in the right direction.
- The recognition of systemic racism in the education system is important and allows those who have been left behind to feel included in the solution.
- The elimination of streaming is a long-overdue action, and we congratulate the Board in identifying and taking leadership to stop this practice.
- Providing human rights and anti-oppression training to all staff is incredibly important to allow teachers to gain valuable training and understandings that will help them serve students better.
- We also welcome increased parent and student voice and in reviewing the allocation of resources, to ensure equitable access to help those in most need.
- We appreciate the recognition, that opportunity must be provided on an equal basis, and that those who lack access to wealth must be treated with the same dignity provided to those in wealthier areas.
- Programs that assist students increase their success no matter where they are delivered must be continued, but additional supports to those lacking in resources should also be provided greater commitment.
- Including Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, Human Rights and Indigenous Educational lenses is crucial to create an educational environment and give respect to everyone from different histories.
- The review of policies, and system re-allocation of resources, as well as a focus on hiring practices, is all critical.
- We also appreciate the strategy for Black Student Achievement and Excellence given the historic and current disparities that exist. We believe that finding solutions that continue to affect Black students will allow us to support all children more successfully. We hope that a similar focus on Indigenous students will also occur given the intergenerational realities that exist and we understand though, that Indigenous issues will not happen in an Equity report.
We were disappointed that the recommendation to establish a Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement within the TDSB, focused upon research and generating solutions and support for Black students and their families, was not included in the Task Force Report. Given the Report’s limited attention to Anti-Black Racism, which is clearly a significant problem in the school system, we hope that you will consider incorporating the creation of this Centre into your recommendations.
Additionally, we hope that the Ministry of Education and the Anti-Racism directorate support the TDSB to get the supports needed and ensure this plan’s implementation and success.
These measures are all needed, however, we must not just write policies, but act upon them with dedication and true commitment and we look forward to working with the Board in making them a reality.
Nigel Barriffe, President – Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Nour Alideeb, Chairperson/ Président Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario/ Fédération canadienne des étudiantes et étudiants – Ontario
Yolanda McLean, President Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Warren Salmon, President Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators