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Toronto School Board eyes "Afro-centric" school


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And here we have a little more insight into the nature of this issue:

Meanwhile, emotions boiled over at the board the day after the vote, when some parents who support the school confronted opposing trustees Matlow and Payne with inflammatory name-calling.

...said veteran board member Irene Atkinson yesterday... "Some of the opposition [to the school] may be knee-jerk racist reaction."

Toronto Star: Reopen Africentric school vote: Trustees

Later addition:

I posted above before I found a full article on the matter:

During Tuesday night's meeting – where the issue was debated and narrowly approved 11-9 – Trustees Josh Matlow and Stephnie Payne say they were subjected to taunts and name-calling, some of it racist, sexist and anti-Semitic.

After the vote, Payne, the only opposing black trustee, says someone told her: "Shame, shame, you should be f------ shot."

During the vote, Payne, in Matlow's hearing, was accused of being a "sellout" to the black community and "whitewashed."

Toronto Star: Trustees threatened following tough vote

And we're to believe the idea for this school isn't founded purely on race?

Edited by g_bambino
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Dancer will dance. It's a fact because of restrictive relious breeding practices that the Judiacs over a long period of time have generated a race - and some say that it's " a state of mind" - I suppose those would be the honourary Jews that embrace this "state of mind" - I guess being master bureacrats does have it's perks and it's price - getting back to creating "race" based schools - It really is highly manipulative to suggest that blacks be seperated - and I would say that racists in power know that such shools will futher debase and destroy the black community that they so much dispise - very clever to have a person or group destroy there future with there own hand - very clever in deed! If there is love for our fellow human beings that are black - we will welcome them into white society - so far it has always been just a token invitation - we all know that the powers that be are white - and we all know they hate and fear blacks - ..

that my friends is the bottom line - cowardice - and we have alienated and made angry - our black youth - I would say this was done with intent and incrimentally....black schools would create eccentric Rasta types who would go on about the mythical lost kingdow of Etheopia --- it's improper to allow or attempt to have a group live on legendry - blacks want to be whites - if you know what I mean - the message we sent them over the last two decades is - YOU ARE NOT WELCOME AND YOU ARE INFERIOUR - which was a very intellectually inferiour attitude to begin with on the parts of rich powerful whites - who are actually no so superiour after all - just look at the management crisis the now confronts them socially speaking - they blew it!

I have to say Oleg you are an original, a genuine original. I never know where your reasoning will take you but it does get you there.

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Are you equating faith with race?

I do not speak for Dancer but I would say for myself, in my personbal opinion yes I could equate race and faith as being synonomous. Religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender preference, race. physical status )(disability) all are fundamentally concepts that come from having or not having faith.

For me while this school is designed for blacks the way alternative schools in the past were designed for gay students, or aboriginals, is techncially not based on religion but on "special needs".

The problem is this. Fundamentally if you say black people have special needs, then how can you say other groups don't?

I myself would differentiate the aboriginal issue from this as I believe its different because it is culture that preceded Canada and should have been properly honoured and never was. Its a different situation and no one claimed the aboriginal school was anything but symbolic and I still do not believe the way to address the problems with aboriginals or any other group is by "specialization" because other then aboriginals, it sets the precedent that anyone should be entitled to special treatment.

I put it this way. Do we say to disabled children-you know what its too difficult to build ramps and extra wide doorways, we are just going to build one big disabled school and put you all there.

Would anyone agree with that?

Look I am o.k. if someone says this black school is not meant to be a solution just one testing ground for techniques that will then be brought back to the mainstream school system-but I do not see it as a solution.

I say the same thing about alternative schools for gay students. I understand why they were created. But that is not a solution it only delays the problem and helps avoid it. The ignorance won't go away because you take the targets of hatred and warehouse them.

All you do is encourage bigots to be bigots because they see the pragmatic results-when they bully people, the schoolboard won't confront them, it will just shuffle off their targets.

I actuall dig what Oleg said in the sense that people who hate are the only ones we are helping when all is said and done.

I want my children in school with blacks, and aboriginals and gays and everyone else. I want them to learn to live with these people and learn from these people.

I am more concerned that when Oleg's child is being beaten up, we call it for what it is-violence and not give it fancy words and make excuses for it but say what it is-violence which comes from children not being taught respect for each other and property because they have not learned it at home or in their communities.

Africentric? Talk about buzz words. Does anyone really know what that means? I heard some alleged intellects say it means when kids have lunch they sit in a circle and they are taught to respect their elders. That to me sounds like something all cultures should be equally teaching their children.

Stop this bullshitting around and couching what the real problem is-children without faith-children who do not believe in themselves because the environment they grow up in is nothing but compromised in terms of faith values.

Basics like reading, writing, math, physical health and hygiene, respect for others-these are the things all children need and no children who are taught when they hate others or have no respect for others they are victims or need special treatment is bull.

Respect comes from being direct and honest and when people are rude and violent, calling them on it and holding them accountable for the behaviour and disciplining them with programs and measures that teach them why there are consequences.

I say it again, take me back to the bully threatening me, and have me stand in front of him and force us both to see it through without violence.

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People can dress this up anyway they want but the reality is, 40 years after the death of Martin Luther King, a school board in Canada is considering the instatement of racially segregated schools. Very discouraging.
I agree.

But it does bear noting that the US and Canada, being very different countries, are not really comparable.

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People can dress this up anyway they want but the reality is, 40 years after the death of Martin Luther King, a school board in Canada is considering the instatement of racially segregated schools. Very discouraging.

Right. Rhetoric.

The proposal isn't for "racially segregated" schools. It is for ethnic Afro-centric, meaning that anyone can attend and the lesson will be taught from that ethnic Afro-centric point of view. It is a form of liberal teaching where it has been proven in other experimental learning situations that kids learn best if they have an interest or a connection to the information being taught. It is pretty hard for a kid whose family history was rooted in slavery freed by the underground railroad to relate to some pristine British Monarch having tea and crumpets with Lords. By teaching them history, culture, current events that focus from their ethnic background, they are better able to learn the critical thinking they will need to succeed.

The fear of segregation and black only protests does scare white anglo boys , no doubt. But it has nothing to do with "Black Power" rising in Canada (which seems to be most people's greatest fear) and more about keeping kids who are destined to become drop-outs in a system that is biased against them.

Of course the alternative would be to modify the curriculum so that Black history, culture and politics are incorporated into every school but the hold-out of dogmatic religious socialite marms would have none of that, now would they....?

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The proposal isn't for "racially segregated" schools. It is for ethnic Afro-centric, meaning that anyone can attend and the lesson will be taught from that ethnic Afro-centric point of view.

It is a form of liberal teaching where it has been proven in other experimental learning situations that kids learn best if they have an interest or a connection to the information being taught. It is pretty hard for a kid whose family history was rooted in slavery freed by the underground railroad to relate to some pristine British Monarch having tea and crumpets with Lords. By teaching them history, culture, current events that focus from their ethnic background, they are better able to learn the critical thinking they will need to succeed.

The fear of segregation and black only protests does scare white anglo boys , no doubt. But it has nothing to do with "Black Power" rising in Canada (which seems to be most people's greatest fear) and more about keeping kids who are destined to become drop-outs in a system that is biased against them.

Of course the alternative would be to modify the curriculum so that Black history, culture and politics are incorporated into every school but the hold-out of dogmatic religious socialite marms would have none of that, now would they....?

Talk about rhetoric. The school won't be Afro-centric, unless you can somehow demonstrate how the non-black African peoples and cultures will play a part in the fulcrum of the school's curriculum and staff. Can't? Well then, I guess the focus isn't on Africa, but specifically on black people and culture. That is racial segregation. Problem is, what the hell is "black history," "black culture," and, stemming from that, "black politics"? All black people aren't from the same ethnic background, nor do they have some special common history or unique political system. Yet, in some incredible feat of imagination, people like you seem to think they are and do, and then proceed to get on your pedestal to tell everyone there must be a school that will offer these pretend things to the poor darker coloured children who have apparently been starved of them by the evil white man. As long as people continue to believe in these self-righteous preachings and poor-victim bemoanings things will not get any better; but, time will always bring down the facade of a sham.

Edited by g_bambino
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Happens to have freedom?

Harper's government chose to send the $100 every month to parents so that they could use the money as they wished. This was a critical part of the Tory proposal. (Do you remember Scott Reid's "beer and popcorn" comment?)

This is the STANDARD program that everyone pays into, we could have it all private, but the tories decided against it. An analogy would be the feds doling out the 100 buck checks AND paying for other daycares, this is in a way what the Toronto School board is doing they already pay for a STANDARD school, now the tax payers are paying for something more than that which is proposterous, anything more should be done out of that person's own pocket.

Wait a second, Bueblood. If we just give the money to the parents - as Stephen Harper and the Tories proposed doing - what stops them from spending the money on different flavours of schools? For all we know, parents could be sending their pre-school kids to the beer-and-popcorn daycare.

I wouldn't care as long as those different flavor of school is privately run

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Freedom is a frightening idea sometimes. Why? Because free people are free to choose - and God knows how they might choose. For example, free to choose, some Black parents might choose to send their kids to "Afro-centric" schools. Heavens.

The Toronto School Board is simply offering offering (in a very small way) choice.

IMHO, an Afro-centric school is better than a Beer-and-Popcorn school. But I'm willing to leave this choice up to the parents. Blueblood, what's your opinion? Do you think government bureaucrats should spend tax money to ensure that it doesn't get wasted on beer-and-popcorn and Afro-centric?

Yes, and if people want the beer-and-popcorn they can buy it themselves

No, the provincial tax system is forcing people to fund the education system - just like the federal tax system is forcing us all to finance Harper's $100 child care payment.

yes they force us to fund a standard at which society wants, anything else should and does cost extra, except in Ontario

The question of financing is different from the question of how the money is spent.

In my family, I try to connect the two questions but I more often than not fail. It seems to me that I earn the money but someone else decides how to spend it. Such is family. I notice that governments often fail on this point too. The money that comes in is not connected to the money that goes out. It is the nature of government, family and most insurance schemes.

Now for the million dollar question, would non-black kids be allowed to go to this school should their parents for whatever reason want them to?

There is freedom of choice already and we don't need more, if you don't like the education your kid gets in a public school, you can pull him/her out and privately educate them whether its a tutor or private school.

Edited by blueblood
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...would non-black kids be allowed to go to this school should their parents for whatever reason want them to?

That depends on whether you mean de jure or de facto limitations on the racial make up of the school. The TDSB has said that technically a child of any race may attend the school. However, one really has to wonder how many non-black children would be enrolled into a Black-focused school. How many would the administration allow to enroll, given that the non-black student would be taking the place of an at-risk student, which all black kids apparently are.

Edited by g_bambino
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Now for the million dollar question, would non-black kids be allowed to go to this school should their parents for whatever reason want them to?
Yes, as bambino points out above.

Since the school is designed to emphasize issues of interest to blacks, one wonders whether white kids would want to apply. Moreover, I'm not sure it's easy to define what is a "white kid" or a "black kid". (Barack Obama for example had a white mother and a black father. So, what's he?)

The school will have to select students according to some criteria. What? Dunno. We have schools now that emphasize artistic endeavours and select students according to their singing ability, for example. Other schools select according to religion, sex or native talent. Is that OK?

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Of course the alternative would be to modify the curriculum so that Black history, culture and politics are incorporated into every school but the hold-out of dogmatic religious socialite marms would have none of that, now would they....?

No, the alternative would be to act like every other ethnic group that wants to give its kids a grounding in their history, culture and politics. They do it on their own dime and their own time.

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If there is a difference it is in that we have never had race based public schools, until now.

We still won't have a "race based" school. To suggest that is a lie. It will be an Afro centric focused curriculum. Obviously Jamaican and other black ancestry would be considered.

We all ready have plenty of ethnic based schools in Ontario. The majority of them cater to British descendants, and they do fine. First Nations also have culturally modified native-centric programs and they are highly successful models.

The bottom line is that an education counts in this world. And it doesn't matter how one gets it, coming out of the system having completed a curriculum with a diploma or degree helps individuals become successful. And without an education, those who do find work either end up in McJobs or in a life of crime. The solution is getting kids to stay in school.

And yes to whomever asked the questions. ANYone can attend. Being Afro-centric doesn't mean they won't learn the three r's or arithmetic, or science. It just means that when they do learn these things they will be flavoured with examples from an Afro / Black point of view and not peppered with meaningless colonialism shoved down their throats.

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We still won't have a "race based" school. To suggest that is a lie. It will be an Afro centric focused curriculum. Obviously Jamaican and other black ancestry would be considered.

Afro centric also for Jamaican and others of black ancestry but not race based. What a load of crap.

It just means that when they do learn these things they will be flavoured with examples from an Afro / Black point of view and not peppered with meaningless colonialism shoved down their throats.

How about a Canadian point of view. Colonialism may be a thing in our past but it isn't meaningless, it is the reason this country exists and the reason all of us are here.

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Afro centric also for Jamaican and others of black ancestry but not race based. What a load of crap.

How about a Canadian point of view. Colonialism may be a thing in our past but it isn't meaningless, it is the reason this country exists and the reason all of us are here.

There is no such thing as a "Canadian view" and colonialism is still very much alive and integrated in society and government. The focus in school on colonialism views is negates the fact that there is much more than British prowess that built this country. The contributions of others is constantly overlooked.

You do realize that there are lots of ~white~ Jamaicans now living in Canada who would benefit from that same point of view?

You seem to miss that fact that this is about addressing a disparity among kids from different backgrounds to get an education. Learning about something one is interested in is far more valuable than being taught about something that is completely foreign.

Edited by charter.rights
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Why doesn't the gov. just allow all funding to be tied directly to the student who attends school. And let the parents decide where and how their children will be educated. Take all control from the school boards and give it back to the parents and families. Were it belongs.

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First Nations also have culturally modified native-centric programs and they are highly successful models.

Please provide an example of a highly successful native-centric program.

Here's an example of a not so successful such school right in Toronto.

"The First Nations School of Toronto suspends a full third of its elementary school students every year, while its entire Grade 3 class could not meet provincial standards in reading, writing or arithmetic last year, according to the Falconer report on school safety.

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"The school occupies the lowest rung in academic standing amongst the 451 elementary schools in the [Toronto District School Board]," says Mr. Falconer's report. "[And] over the last three years, the First Nations School of Toronto has suspended an average of 33.44% of its students."

The report calls that suspension rate "an extraordinary level for an elementary school" and observes that the majority of the 75 students at the school near Dundas Street and Broadview Avenue are struggling academically, to the point where in last year's province-wide testing, not one of the First Nations School's Grade 3 students reached provincial standards in reading, writing or arithmetic. Testing last fall showed the entire Grade 1 class was at the lowest levels of literacy.

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The First Nations School of Toronto was started in 1977 as an "alternative school" within the public board as an effort to close the "achievement gap" between the academic performance of aboriginal students and non-native students. The report noted that "the achievement gap for aboriginal students has increased, rather than decreased, over the past five years."

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Ms. Loft said many native children face enormous problems, ranging from physical abuse at home and single-parent families to poverty and drug or alcohol abuse in their families, which often lie behind their behavioural problems. "It's generation after generation of problems that are piling up on these kids."

http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=232058&p=1

This is shameful. How has this school advantaged native children? The answer is it has not. How come this has not come out during the discussion of afro centered education?

And without an education, those who do find work either end up in McJobs or in a life of crime.

You forgot that some would end up living their lives on welfare.

Being Afro-centric doesn't mean they won't learn the three r's or arithmetic, or science. It just means that when they do learn these things they will be flavoured with examples from an Afro / Black point of view and not peppered with meaningless colonialism shoved down their throats.

Would that mean that adding, subtracting and multiplying mangos or papayas instead of apples or cars would be more meaningful for black canadians?

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There is no such thing as a "Canadian view" and colonialism is still very much alive and integrated in society and government. The focus in school on colonialism views is negates the fact that there is much more than British prowess that built this country. The contributions of others is constantly overlooked.
Why not lobby for the inclusion of the contributions of other groups into the curriculum? I see no reason why the role of Chinese in building the rails should not be taught, for example. Or the role of French and Metis fur trappers in inhabiting the North. Why not aim for something positive rather than something ruinously divisive?
You seem to miss that fact that this is about addressing a disparity among kids from different backgrounds to get an education. Learning about something one is interested in is far more valuable than being taught about something that is completely foreign.
Should Grade 1 students be educated in Pokemon because that's what they're interested in?
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There is no such thing as a "Canadian view" and colonialism is still very much alive and integrated in society and government.

The Canadian view is our Canadian history.

The focus in school on colonialism views is negates the fact that there is much more than British prowess that built this country. The contributions of others is constantly overlooked.

British history is our past history.

Currently and since confederation all CANADIANS contribute to OUR country.

How can you be overlooked if you are a Canadian citizen regardless of your culture or race?

Learning about something one is interested in is far more valuable than being taught about something that is completely foreign.

Why don't you admit you are not compatible with Canadian culture and migrate back to your country of origin and stop screwing up our country with your traitorous views.

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You seem to miss that fact that this is about addressing a disparity among kids from different backgrounds to get an education. Learning about something one is interested in is far more valuable than being taught about something that is completely foreign.

It is not a public schools job to teach people what they are interested in, it is to help make them fully functioning members of society who know something about the country they live in and how it works. That may mean having to learn a whole bunch of things you aren't interested in when you are a kid. That goes for white folks to. I hate to think what kind of education our kids would end up with if we left the curriculum to a bunch of primary school kids and over sexed teenagers.

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The history of where we all came from really shouldn't be the priority. It should be the history of where we came. Our history and how it relates to who we are today.

Today we are multicultural. Our history is one of acceptance. The natives accepted the European just as we've accepted other cultures and peoples, even outcasts such as draft dodgers. Every Canadian student should know the meaning of The Underground Railroad, but they don't. Many can't recall our first P.M.

Beside a need for an improved curriculum though, this likely started with a parent or two who could accept that their children weren't doing well in school. They likely first blamed the teacher, but found out other students were doing fine. It had to be something else. In reality, it likely has more to do with poor parenting or the fact that some kids, no matter of race, are just dumb.

One black student interview on CBC said he'd never want to go or have his children go to an Afro-centric school because he would want to accept the idea that he or his kids couldn't make it in the regular school. I'm sure he and his kids will do just fine. Good on him.

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Why not lobby for the inclusion of the contributions of other groups into the curriculum? I see no reason why the role of Chinese in building the rails should not be taught, for example. Or the role of French and Metis fur trappers in inhabiting the North. Why not aim for something positive rather than something ruinously divisive?
Every Canadian student should know the meaning of The Underground Railroad, but they don't. Many can't recall our first P.M.

It's been over forty years since I left high school but this stuff was taught. Whether it sunk in or not is another question.

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The Canadian view is our Canadian history.

British history is our past history.

Currently and since confederation all CANADIANS contribute to OUR country.

How can you be overlooked if you are a Canadian citizen regardless of your culture or race?

I agree with Leaflless' comment.

Edited by Rue
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Charter you stated;

"There is no such thing as a "Canadian view"...

Maybe that is the problem Charter. Maybe its time we develop one-and how do youy develop one if you teach Canadians its acceptable to be fragmented?

Canadian history is part aboriginal, part British, part French in terms of learning our roots. Then the fourth component is the constantly changing dynamic after these 3 components coming from all other cultures, i.e., Chinese, Japanese, Sikh, Irish, Ukrainian, Dukhabor, Jewish, Greek, Italian, East European, African, West Indian, South American and so on.

When you talk "Afri" culture what does that mean? We have the black perspective of blacks who escaped slavery and settled in the Niagra Valley, and of course in Halifax and Yarmouth, and other Canadian sites you think calling such black Canadians Afri means the same as calling someone from Africa that?

It could refer to the Caribbean migrants who came from the West Indies. It could mean Africans whose cultures are not the same at all including Nigerian, Kenyan, South African, Somali, Ghana, on and on.

I mean does anyone really think you can take the diverse cultures of black peoples and slap an Afri label to them and poof they all have one culture?

I would argue that "Afri" is in fact a code word for black kids at Jane and Finch in Toronto. Let's stop pretending what it means. Pretending it is culturel is bull shit. Its all about race. Its all about black kids at Jane and Finch.. Its not about African or black children anywhere else. Its not about black kids descended from the people whoe escaped slavery. Its about kids at Jane and Finch and most of them were BORN in Canada-they are Canadian with black skin. Their problems are Canadian. It has nothing to do with lack of being Afri.

Someone is trying to play feel good good politics to avoid reality. The reality is these kids in trouble at Jane and Finch who the code word Afri really describes, have no Afri problems, i.e., homes with single parents and absent fathers and multiple extended families, little if any community services, no after school programming and no role models and a vicious cycle of unemployment precisely because kids from these environments can not read, write, add and sutract

and control their anger and deal with authority. It has nothing to do with a lack of Afri culture and everything to do with the above in Canada.

Reading, writing, math, anger control and respect for authority are not Afri. They are universal life skills all cultures equally define as the ones to cultivate.

Teaching kids to dance or their culture means nothing if they can not become vital members of society because they have no positive role models, proper diet, and after school programs channeling their energy into positive endevours that teach them to work together with people of other cultures.

Schools are designed to provide a common ground for all. They are a time and a place to share experience not exclude it. Excluding inclusivity is necessarily ignorant. Intelligence is about being flexible and taking on many experiences, not blocking out experiences and allowing only one. That is what a lazy, ignorant mind does. It makes the complex simple, it turns a meddly of colours into one tone of black.

With due respect I have yet to hear someone define what Afri means other then the subjective tokenism of the person who expresses it based on their own beleifs.

Let's stop couching what this is. Afri is a stereotype based on the notion that black kids at Jane and Finch can be labelled Afri and placed in a school where poof they will have no problems if there teachers throw token gestures at them.

Those token gestures are meaningless if these children have to go back into the real world unable to read, write, spell, add, subtract and control their tempers.

The time and place for specialized culture is after school not during school. It belongs with parents, role models, community leaders and members, community organizations and therein lies the problem.

The people who should be parents, role models, community leaders and members of community organizations and churches, etc., will not do so-they look to the school to quick fix their own lack of involvement.

Edited by Rue
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No, the alternative would be to act like every other ethnic group that wants to give its kids a grounding in their history, culture and politics. They do it on their own dime and their own time.
Wilber, who pays the $100 per child sent out by the federal government? Whose dime is that?

Does the government dictate how parents spend that $100 - even though the money comes from taxpayers?

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Wilber, you seem to think that every child should go to the same school and learn the same things because Canadian taxpayers pay for education. In fact, is that how Canada is organized? No, it's not. First of all, we have 10 ministries of education in Canada and each one decides curricula differently from the others. Indeed, this is a critical feature of Canada's constitution.

Secondly, there are local boards of education which often organize schools differently from one another. For example, rural schools don't offer the same programmes as urban schools.

Thirdly, many school districts offer specialized programmes for exceptional students. There are special education classes, music classes and so on.

All of this is paid for using taxpayer money.

For something as complicated as teaching children, a one-size-fits-all approach is impossible. We must teach different children differently. School is not the military and children are not soldiers. We can't make them all fit into the same mould. (In fact, not even Canada's military is monolithic. Different regiments use language differently.)

As long as certain basic standards are met, then I think letting parents choose where to send their children is a good thing. After all, we let parents decide how to spend the $100 per month they receive for toddlers.

Edited by August1991
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