Over the past month, many parents and students have reached out to my office to express their concerns about rumours that have been circulating regarding the draft recommendations brought forward by the Enhancing Equity Task Force.
On the topic of gifted programs and specialized schools, I would not support phasing out specialized schools and that is not what is being recommended by the task force. What the task force is highlighting is the inequities that have been inadvertently created and calls upon trustees to take action.
As the Trustee for Toronto Centre-Rosedale, I've had the pleasure of visiting Rosedale Heights School of the Arts and seeing the high calibre of education and exceptional students produced by the specialized learning environment. However, since being elected I've been a champion for equity and must recognize and work with my colleagues to address the inequities across our entire system. Every student should have the opportunities to excel in programs of their choice. We need to find ways to expand the opportunities that these schools and programs offer.
With regards to de-streaming, I would fully support this. Streaming is the practice of placing students in distinct and separate programs and/or courses based on perceived academic performance, ability or intelligence. As the Toronto Star Editorial Board stated earlier this school year, “this policy has done nothing to advance the academic prospects of students while doing a great deal to reinforce the educational disadvantages experienced by low-income and Black kids. It’s high time to end it.”
I would like to thank staff and members of the task force for the commitment and hard work that they put into conducting consultations and drafting the recommendations. I am looking forward to receiving the final report at our board meeting on December 13 and hearing the Director's plan to lead us into the next phase.