Wednesday, November 7, 2007

McGuinty vs Wynn on African (black) schools

Stats have shown that failure rates and drop out rates from school are higher among black students. TDSB is taking under consideration a recommendation to open an elementary school for 'black' students. The school would have more black teachers and a focus on 'black' culture in an attempt to make the educational experience more relevant to the students.

With the rejection of religious school funding, it would seem to be a no-brainer that the provincial government would be quick to come out against this idea.

In an interview Education Minister Kathleen Wynn indicating that she was very concerned about the failure rates among black students and would like to see different solutions. She avoided having an opinion on this solution because it is up to the school board to make the decision and out of her jurisdiction. When asked why her position was different than on the faith based schooling issue she explained that she was concerned about students that are being failed by the system. Based on this answer the reason religious schools should not receive funding is that these communities have stepped up to take care of their own kids. They did not wait for the government to decide that they would benefit from a slightly different learning experience.

Premier Dalton McGuinty was quick on the ball stating that he is not in favour of this idea. He used the same lines from his election campaign that he wants a school system that brings children together. He is in favour of the public education system. It is nice to see that he is being consistent on this point. The problem with his statement is it ignores the fact that if approved this proposal will take place under the umbrella of public education. McGuinty really needs to stop defining his educational policy in terms of who pays for it. A definition based on the student learning experience would be a far better way of defining public policy.

Public consultations will take place next week. If TDSB does go ahead with this plan it is unclear how McGuinty and Wynn will reconcile their differences on this issue.

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