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Author Topic: Alternative black schools in Toronto?
athena_dreaming
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posted 03 February 2005 08:32 AM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Apologies in advance for the crappy link, I don't know how to do it neatly:

quote:
Educator calls for creation of black schools

Ontario schools have failed black students by having too few teachers of colour, too few courses on black thought and a zero tolerance code that hits black students hardest, charges a leading Canadian researcher into race and schooling.

And sociology professor George Dei drew an explosion of applause from a crowd of 500 last night when he called for black alternative schools to right some of these wrongs.


Thoughts?

ETS: Michelle fixed it for me! Yay!

Edited again to change thread title, as per request.

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: athena_dreaming ]

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: athena_dreaming ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 03 February 2005 08:33 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here you go, athena.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 03 February 2005 09:02 AM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Don't blame yourself Athena. Links from the Star just don't work with the URL button here.

Go to www.tinyurl.com and follow their easy instructions for making a tinyurl button on your browser toolbar. Then all you have to do is click it to make a tinyurl from any page and it'll copy it to your clipboard at the same time!


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 03 February 2005 10:13 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was hoping he'd flesh out how it is he believes that 'zero tolerance' policies unfairly target black students.
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 03 February 2005 10:34 AM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"These schools would be very different from the segregated schools of the South, because those were designed to disconnect blacks," Dei said in an interview.

...whereas these "Black Alternative Schools" would only disconnect the black community by default, rather than by design?

More black culture programs?
Absolutely.
Away with "zero tolerance"?
Absolutely. It affects minorities and the poor disproportionately.
Segregation, under any name?
No thanks. Whether by design or default, I don't want more disconnect occurring between our communities.


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johnpauljones
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posted 03 February 2005 10:37 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I can not see how the provincial government could possibly allow this type of school regardless of the need or possible success.

As I see it. Race based schools are no different than religion based schools.

If the government allows the funding of "Black only schools" then it had better also fund those religious day schools who were approved for the tax credit.

To me both are the same. The only difference is one is based on religion the other race.


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miss nomer
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posted 03 February 2005 11:09 AM      Profile for miss nomer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Minorities are actually the majority in Toronto. It does say that all races would be welcome. Would it be any more acceptable to say that the school offers
a more black inclusive curriculum?

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johnpauljones
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posted 03 February 2005 11:12 AM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Curriculem is totally different than a "seperate school" I am totally in favour of changes to curriculum to better represetn not only society but also take into account the problems that some minorities have in the school system.

My problem is with the funding of a third type of school so soon after banning the funding of religious schools.

As a society we either fund all schools or we just fund the 2 legislated types of schools that being the Public Board and the Seperate Board (Roman Catholic Schools)


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N.R.KISSED
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posted 03 February 2005 12:18 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think black focused schools are an excellent idea for challenging underlying racist assumptions that black students face on a daily basis within the education system. There is an inordinate amount of research demonstating the impact that negative assumptions concerning academic performance.

The difficulty is having people acknowledge the existence of systemic racism and the extent to which we all internalize oppressive assumptions.


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robbie_dee
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posted 03 February 2005 01:37 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think there is a huge world of difference between "black focused" and "blacks only." My understanding from the article posted is that we are actually talking about the former, although the thread title indicates the latter.
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miss nomer
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posted 03 February 2005 01:40 PM      Profile for miss nomer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I would agree.
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athena_dreaming
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posted 03 February 2005 02:02 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You're right, I should change the title--can I? Or does a mod have to?
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Reality. Bites.
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posted 03 February 2005 02:05 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Nope. Just edit the first post and you can change the title. I did it last week when one I used wasn't sufficiently smutty for Michelle's titillation and she complained.

(and no, Michelle, you won't be living it down anytime soon. )


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johnpauljones
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posted 03 February 2005 02:08 PM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think that the thread title of Black only schools is appropriate. The article talks of Professor Dei calling for black alternative schools.

What is an alternative school? When I read the article I took the term to refer to a school created for black students with a curriculum specialized for them.

If this is a true assumption then yes we are talking about a school targeting a specific population only.

If I am in error could someone point this out to me.


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N.R.KISSED
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posted 03 February 2005 02:48 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Cheers broke out when Dei called for the creation of experimental black-focused schools that would have more black teachers, guidance counsellors, Africa-centric curriculum and more open discussion of race.

"These schools would be very different from the segregated schools of the South, because those were designed to disconnect blacks," Dei said in an interview.

"These schools would be created to address a problem and they would be open to students of any colour."


Specifically note the last sentence and consider your error pointed to.


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lacabombi
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posted 03 February 2005 05:08 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The proposition is not new. It has been in the report of the Royal Commission on education.

It is not segregation. It is not segregation.

I wish Whites, who are comfortable in their position of superiority and priviledge quit sloganeering about "no segregation".

The status quo serves Whites well. That is why they want to cling to it.


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robbie_dee
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posted 03 February 2005 05:08 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
JPJ: Do you see a difference between a french immersion school and a school that will only admit students who can prove they are francophones from francophone families?

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


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johnpauljones
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posted 03 February 2005 05:12 PM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by robbie_dee:
JPJ: Do you see a difference between a french immersion school and a school that will only admit students who can prove they are francophones from francophone families?


Actually I do see a difference. My opinions have changed since the debates surrounding funding of religious schools in Ontario.

I am of the opinion that either all schools that meet the Ministry education requirements should receieve funds regardless of whether they are language, religion or race based or we should have 1 school system only the public system.

To me it is a matter of fairness either fund all or one. Since many are against funding of all.

Simply fund only the public board.


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YPK
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posted 03 February 2005 05:15 PM      Profile for YPK     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I wish Whites, who are comfortable in their position of superiority and priviledge quit sloganeering about "no segregation".

You'll likely find that a large number of "superior" and "privileged" Whites will be in favour of this proposal.


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skdadl
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posted 03 February 2005 05:17 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by YPK:

You'll likely find that a large number of "superior" and "privileged" Whites will be in favour of this proposal.


Indeed. The more privileged, the more in favour.

Why shouldn't working people subsidize the private educations of the wealthy, after all?


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robbie_dee
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posted 03 February 2005 05:19 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
JPJ: So would you scrap french immersion programs, art/theater schools, trade schools, schools for deaf or disabled students, and anything like that, then?
From: Iron City | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
johnpauljones
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posted 03 February 2005 05:26 PM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No Robbie that is not what I said at all.

But I am against the notion of creating another type of school catering to one group when we are ignoring the same request from those in different religious communities asking for the same thing.

I have no problem letting this idea float. I do have a problem with at the same time telling the Jewish community, the Muslem community, the Dutch Reform Community and others that we will not fund you at the same time.

To me it is a question of fairness. A Jewish or Mulsem day school that meets the requirements of the Ministry of Education in Ontario should get full funding the same way other schools that meet the criteria do.


This is not an issue of a black school idea.

To me this is an issue of fairness.


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N.R.KISSED
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posted 03 February 2005 05:27 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For those who missed it in the article and again when I quoted from the article.

Professor George Dei said:

quote:
"These schools would be created to address a problem and they would be open to students of any colour."

It is not seperate it is not segregated it just has a alternative focus, specifically one that is not eurocentric and systemically oppressive.


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johnpauljones
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posted 03 February 2005 05:31 PM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But NRkissed since in Ontario there is 1 common curriculum that is supposed to be the same whether the student lives in Toronto or Thunder Bay or Wawa how would this work?

The current legislation would need to be changed to allow for "specialized curriculum".


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lacabombi
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posted 03 February 2005 05:32 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

To me this is an issue of fairness.


But, Johnpauljones, the outcome of the current situation has not shown any fairness towards black students !!

This is the sloganeering that keep leftists off the track. It is nice to say one public system for all. But this system seem did not produce fairness.


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YPK
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posted 03 February 2005 05:34 PM      Profile for YPK     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Why shouldn't working people subsidize the private educations of the wealthy, after all?

We're talking about proposed public schools, are we not? What do the "private educations of the wealthy" have to do with anything?


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johnpauljones
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posted 03 February 2005 05:34 PM      Profile for johnpauljones     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by lacabombi:
This is the sloganeering that keep leftists off the track. It is nice to say one public system for all. But this system seem did not produce fairness.

Not only is the current system not fair to visable minority students I am also arguing that it is not fair to religious minority students.

My point is that the system is not fair and to fix one part while ignoring another part is wrong.


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skdadl
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posted 03 February 2005 05:35 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
NRK: I accept that distinction, and I think it has long been a useful one for many different purposes. robbie dee's example of French immersion is a good one.

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 03 February 2005 05:37 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by YPK:

We're talking about proposed public schools, are we not? What do the "private educations of the wealthy" have to do with anything?


YPK, you were explicitly responding to -- and agreeing, it appeared to me -- a post scorning the slogan "no segregation."


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lacabombi
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posted 03 February 2005 05:38 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
skdadl: Indeed. The more privileged, the more in favour.

Why shouldn't working people subsidize the private educations of the wealthy, after all?


This is astonishing, coming from a lefist. First, twisting the issue from an issue of people insufficiently/unfairly served by the current system to an issue of wealthy and not wealthy... To conclude that the wealthy supports the change.

We are not talking about religious schools or stricly private schools (as in schools for teh rich). We are talking schools that will deal with blacks and their education in a fair and serious manner.


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Mr. Magoo
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posted 03 February 2005 05:38 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How is this way different from earlier similar concerns like "girls are falling behind in school because of the curriculum!" and the later "boys are falling behind in school because of the curriculum!"

Personally I don't have a problem making the curriculum more inclusive, but I think it would be best done in all schools, no? Wouldn't that be a better idea than doing it in one or two?

And while it may be unpopular to even ask this, why does the lack of Asian or East Indian or Latin American teachers and the lack of courses on Asian or East Indian or Latin American thought not seem to be lowering test scores for these students in the same way? Or if it is, why wouldn't we attack all the problems at once?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 03 February 2005 05:39 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And here is lacabombi, the poster who originally scorned those who resist "segregation" -- your term, lacabombi.
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lacabombi
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posted 03 February 2005 05:41 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, skdadl, I do scorn slogans that whitewash unfairness and perpetuate exclusion.
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YPK
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posted 03 February 2005 05:42 PM      Profile for YPK     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
YPK, you were explicitly responding to -- and agreeing, it appeared to me -- a post scorning the slogan "no segregation."

No, I wasn't agreeing with that at all. Call it what you like -- and "segregation" is as good a term as any -- but you'll find that many non-blacks (not just whites) would at least privately support this proposal.


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robbie_dee
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posted 03 February 2005 05:42 PM      Profile for robbie_dee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
since in Ontario there is 1 common curriculum that is supposed to be the same whether the student lives in Toronto or Thunder Bay or Wawa how would this work?
The current legislation would need to be changed to allow for "specialized curriculum".

Your argument would precisely appear to preclude "special curriculum" for artistically gifted students, for students desiring a technical rather than an academic education, or for any other group like that. I am sure there is enough leeway within the curriculum guidelines to offer some sort of different programming based on the needs of students at particular schools. I see no reason why a particular school couldn't be focused on offering extra programming with specific relevance to Black students where there is clearly a need for such programming.

On religion: I also see this issue as totally different from handing over public funds to some religious group to teach their dogma, as was the case with the now abolished program you want to bring back, JPJ. I realize you don't have the same degree of separation of Church and State in Canada as there is in the US, but come on. It should't be the government's responsibility to fund private religious groups in religious instruction.

I am sorry Ontario hasn't found a way to end its archaic 19th Century Constitutional obligations to support a separate Catholic system yet. The policy actually did make sense back when the Church of England was the state church, "public" education didn't actually exist but rather was "Protestant" education, and predominantly francophone catholics needed to be protected. But that isn't the case any more. This archaic political compromise is no longer needed and will end one day if we work at it. It certainly shouldn't be expanded to let other religions also take a bite out of public schooling.

Religious groups have plenty of opportunities to instruct the children of members in the religion outside of the public school system. For example, they can do so at their place of worship. If there was some specific religious group that was socially or economically disadvantaged because of discrimination they faced in Canadian society, that might be an analogy for the situation being discussed on this thread. Then maybe some special school programming would be appropriate, but for the purposes of ameliorating the effects of discrimination, not for the sole purpose of promoting a particular religion. That's a whole other ball game than what you're talking about, JPJ.

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: robbie_dee ]


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YPK
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posted 03 February 2005 05:44 PM      Profile for YPK     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
And while it may be unpopular to even ask this, why does the lack of Asian or East Indian or Latin American teachers and the lack of courses on Asian or East Indian or Latin American thought not seem to be lowering test scores for these students in the same way?

This is indeed the real question that needs to be asked.


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skdadl
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posted 03 February 2005 05:47 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, long experience has taught me that anyone committed to democracy cannot join these debates from a defensive position.

An excellent public school system is a necessary foundational pillar of democracy, and that is just all there is to it. I omit the long theoretical justification here -- handouts available by request.

I support any genuine improvement in the public school system. The kinds of specialization in individual schools that robbie and NRK have discussed are fine by me, as long as those schools remain public schools, open to all and hiring according to transparent standards -- ie, according to qualifications.


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skdadl
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posted 03 February 2005 05:51 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Re-thinking.

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


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N.R.KISSED
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posted 03 February 2005 06:21 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
And while it may be unpopular to even ask this, why does the lack of Asian or East Indian or Latin American teachers and the lack of courses on Asian or East Indian or Latin American thought not seem to be lowering test scores for these students in the same way? Or if it is, why wouldn't we attack all the problems at once?

I don't recall anything actually being said about test scores, the discussion was around black youth dropping out because they were disengaged, seems a bit of an assumption operating.(No I'm not calling you a racist so let's not play the how dare you game)

An assumption like that is precisely why teachers have negative expectations around the performance of black students.

Also the same assumptions are not made about children from other backgrounds, racist cultural stereotypes assume that black children lack intelligence and motivation and are more disruptive(hence the reference to zero tolerance. The assumptions around Asian and South Asian students is that they are hardworking , studious and good at math so expectations of performance would therefore be high.


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miles
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posted 03 February 2005 07:08 PM      Profile for miles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
IMHO this thread is discussing 2 different types of inequality in Ontario's education system.

The first is the fact that the professor is recognizing that boards of education need to do something to ensure that schools are friendly to members of minorities. This can only be done through specialized subject content and the hiring of teachers who better represent the population.

This professor is calling for it to be done for one group in particular but I am sure that as we go across the province we could find other examples where similar programming is required.

The second issue is one the JPJ raised and that is the issue of religious inequality and inequity throughout the system. While the funding angle is a different discussion for a different thread. The notion that a member of a religious minority might also feel the inequality of a public school system that does not cater to their needs is not one to be brushed off so quickly.

If the Ministry of Education seriously addresses the issues of inequality in both subject matter and the make up of the teaching force in Ontario then it should look at not only visable minorities but also as they were referred to above those members of the religious minorities as well.


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Insurrection
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posted 03 February 2005 07:09 PM      Profile for Insurrection     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I do scorn slogans that whitewash unfairness and perpetuate exclusion.

Agreed. Then again I didn't think the proposal was about "segregation under any name".

I pretty much agree with robbie_dee and NRK.


From: exit in the world | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
wage zombie
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posted 03 February 2005 07:22 PM      Profile for wage zombie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

originally posted by Magoo:
How is this way different from earlier similar concerns like "girls are falling behind in school because of the curriculum!" and the later "boys are falling behind in school because of the curriculum!"

Well it's about a lot more than just curriculum...so that seems pretty different to me.

The article mentions getting more people of colour as teachers. I'm not sure what their reasons are, but I can imagine some good ones (providing black students more black role models, having teachers who are more sensitive to issues surrounding systemic racism, etc). This wouldn't apply to the boys/girls falling behind issue since both men and women teachers are well represented in schools throughout the country.

quote:

Personally I don't have a problem making the curriculum more inclusive, but I think it would be best done in all schools, no? Wouldn't that be a better idea than doing it in one or two?

I don't think that would be a better idea at all. Again, it's not just about curriculum. Doing this in all schools would involve laying off many white teachers across the country and hiring many people of colour. In all schools? Come on.

I think framing it as just a curriculum issue misses the point, IMO. Let's suppose that instead of hiring all the new teachers they just changed the curriculum, province wide, to include more courses on "black thought". Now regardless of whether you approve of the idea in principle, look at it in practice: you'd have a bunch of white teachers teaching subject matter that they don't know anything about. Some would be good at it, sure. But most would struggle. Most teachers, like the rest of us, simply do not have a solid understanding of systemic racism.

The reason that this is being proposed is to provide black students with a more *relevant* education. And once you push this out to all schools, you lose the relevance which was the whole point.

I grew up in a small town. My high school was all white except for two Chinese kids a couple years older than me and a black kid a couple years younger. There may be somewhat more diversity there now (I'm 28) but I feel pretty confident that it's stil 98% white. I had teachers who went to school there themselves.

Pushing this program to my old high school removes the relevance. There would be benefits, but by and large it would fail. Most students would not be interested in taking the courses (at least in high school) and the teachers would not be qualified to teach it.

quote:

And while it may be unpopular to even ask this, why does the lack of Asian or East Indian or Latin American teachers and the lack of courses on Asian or East Indian or Latin American thought not seem to be lowering test scores for these students in the same way? Or if it is, why wouldn't we attack all the problems at once?

I don't know, but I can come up with some reasonable guesses. First I'd say that "East Indians" would just be included under black. I don't think we really view "Latin Americans" as a group per se in Canada...I suspect that there's just not that many of them compared to other ethnicities (correct me if I'm wrong), and beyond that they're regarded as white anyway.

As for Asians, I don't think their test scores are lower than the average. This could be because Asians tend to be in better shape financially than some other minorities. Or it could be because Asians are treated differently than blacks by Candian society. Or it could be a number of other things. I bet you could come up with some other possibilities with a little imagination.

So for two of the groups you provided I don't think the perception of the problem is there in the same way as for blacks, and so there's no perceived need for a solution.

Now undoubtedly you could come up with an example of some group that is similarly disadvanted, and alternative schools may be the solution for them too.

But beyond the hypotheticals, here's a real problem, here's a potential solution, here's some people who are putting the effort into making it happen. I say go for it. If we had to attack all our problems at once, we'd never get anything done.


From: sunshine coast BC | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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posted 03 February 2005 08:04 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Simply, worth repeating:

quote:
Wage Zombie: But beyond the hypotheticals, here's a real problem, here's a potential solution, here's some people who are putting the effort into making it happen. I say go for it. If we had to attack all our problems at once, we'd never get anything done.

Indeed. The issue is not new. If anything has been done to remedy the situation, it has obviously failed.

I have no patience and I do not pull any punches when I read leftists supporting the status quo behind sweet slogans, especially when it comes to minorities issues.


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
spatrioter
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posted 03 February 2005 08:20 PM      Profile for spatrioter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just think it's telling that people here were already jumping up and down with opposition to this, without even having read the article (it clearly states the schools would be open to students of any colour).

Not that I think this is the solution to the problems black youth encounter in the education system. But why would people characterize an alternative learning experience as a form of segregation?

There is already an LGBT public alternative high school in Toronto which teaches queer-related courses, in addition to the basics. It's a positive environment for students who are marginalized in the mainstream school system. Isn't this the same idea?

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: spatrioter ]


From: Trinity-Spadina | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 03 February 2005 08:32 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
There is already an LGBT public alternative high school in Toronto which teaches queer-related courses, in addition to the basics. It's a positive environment for students who are marginalized in the mainstream school system. Isn't this the same idea?

Thta's a good example.

I guess my one big fear is that if such schools were set up, they would quickly become a tool of racism and oppression, despite all the good efforts of those involved in them--that the system would find a way to divert resources (money, supplies) from the alternative schools to the mainstream ones, and thus teh black students would have even fewer resources for education than they do already.

Not that I have any fabulous solutions to propose.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 03 February 2005 08:39 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Semhar Woldeyesus, 19, said guidance counsellors at her high school steered her away from university despite good marks, and she dropped out. It was only at the insistence of her father, a math teacher, that she finished her diploma at night school and she now is a first-year student at the University of Toronto.

"Everyone knows a lot of guidance counsellors are biased against black students. They need better training."


From the link.

This is a very important point, that pretains to the rest of the education system. While I support the idea of these black focused schools. I think it's important to increase attempts to hire/train black teachers, and especially councillors (and make sure existing councillors aren't predjiduced against whatever ethnicities). Semhar Woldeyesus' experinces highlight that pretty well.

If these schools are part of X school district how can they target them for less funding without targetting the entire district? If they are completely stand-alone the possibility exists, but if they aren't then I don't see how it's possibility.

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: Vansterdam Kid ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
wage zombie
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7673

posted 03 February 2005 08:57 PM      Profile for wage zombie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I have no patience and I do not pull any punches when I read leftists supporting the status quo behind sweet slogans, especially when it comes to minorities issues.

well I think people are understandably uncomfortable with the notion of separate but equal, and sensitivities like this can often lead to panic and misunderstandings. This is not segregation as the school would be open to anyone as was pointed out.

I think we could all imagine nightmare scenarios of programs put into place with good intentions that are loopholed into something nasty (we don't have too imagine too hard as unfortunately that seems to be going on quite a bit these days down south). Probably the unnecessarily provocative "blacks only" in the title contributed to some frightful speculation.

Thinking about such scenarios makes it apparent how important it is to have safeguards in place. When safeguards (such as equitable hiring and open to all students (as mentioned above), among others) are in place, peoples fears are eased and they can think more clearly.

And again, it was clearly mentioned in the article and here that these schools would be open, so maybe people just need to read more carefully. Or maybe people just didn't read the article. I know the link didn't work earlier when I tried it (it's working now). The article also made it quite clear that this goes way beyond curriculum but people also seemed to have missed that.

I think you are right and this thread serves to remind us about the problems with sloganeering. Segregation is undesireable but knee-jerk reactions are damaging as well. Every situation needs to be carefully judged on its own.

As far as this issue goes though, it's not really a big deal, that is, it's nowhere near as controversial as the media would have you believe (in order to sell).


From: sunshine coast BC | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
lacabombi
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Babbler # 7014

posted 03 February 2005 09:43 PM      Profile for lacabombi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Spatrioter: I just think it's telling that people here were already jumping up and down with opposition to this, without even having read the article:

Jumping before reading and making sure what is being said (and by whom) seems unfortunately one of our characteristics on Babble.

Here is a one example:

skdadl wrote:

quote:
And here is lacabombi, the poster who originally scorned those who resist "segregation" -- your term, lacabombi.

The fact is that it is not my term, skdadl ! Here is where the term came from:

quote:
Lard tunderin' jeesus :
Segregation, under any name?

[ 03 February 2005: Message edited by: lacabombi ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
SocialWorks
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posted 11 February 2005 09:41 PM      Profile for SocialWorks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is the second time that the idea of implementing black schools has come up (the first time being in 1991). I personally support this idea but I seem to be one of a few. These are some of the arguements I heard.

1. "Having black schools is just faciliatating segragation"

2. "We would be going back in time"

3. "Who's going to pay for this?"

4. "We should not force black kids into black schools"

5. "There should be programs implemented withing the existing education system"

6. "It's a cop-out"

7. "What makes black children different from other children? What is so special about them?"

8. "Other marginalized groups are going to want their own schools"

9. "It facilitates racism"

10. "You can't go grouping black people together like they are all the same...who exactly would qualify access to these 'black schools'?"


Being a black woman myself, I suport the idea of black schools because I have first had experience as a black child in a Canadian school. I know what I needed. I know what I did not get. I know what I was curious about. I dropped out of high school myself and quite frankly I know that black schools are worth the try. I've felt that there needed to be more...that I needed more as a child and still argue that idea in university.

Sunday, February 6, 2005 10:30pm

I can relate to your concern in terms of where it would all end. The difference in having black schools now and segregation back in the 50's and 60's is choice. There was no choice back then. When I think of segregation, I see force; there would be no force in implementing black schools. The only force I can think of is getting people to stop seeing black initiated actions to better themselves, as a threat. There are muslim schools, jewish schools, catholic schools, all girl schools and all boy schools. I don't see why having black schools would be such a negative thing. Actually, it scares me to see the reactons...especially from black children who speak of having black schools, a form of segregation...it shows the lack of awareness of their history.

Or does it?

I resent the media for interviewing black children about this idea since it would be up to the parents in the end.

I resent that, within the educational system, it has taken me 20 years to hear black history from black authors discussed by black professors. Based on the findings about black children, many are dropping out in high school, preventing them from an experience I do not think they should have to 'wait for'.

I feel as though the consensus of Torontonians (at the least) feel that black liberation ended in the 60's and 70's. I challenge this idea. I challenge it because every response I've gotten from peers, seems to come out of fear; fear of change. They fear that it would be percieved negatively. When did society become such cowards?

I am not unrealistic. I understand that the money for such an idea would be hard to find. With funding from the government, the genuinity of it would be diluted...just as other multicultural programs within the existing school system has been diluted. My concern is the reactions to this idea. How can a society be so afraid of an idea? Why is everyone so afraid to take a step and potentially contribute to the history books?

Another concern that has come up is the generalizing of black people. I know that we as black poeple are diverse. We are the most diverse group there is. SHould this stop us from coming together as what we are publicly defined to learn about ourselves?

If the schools are created, the teachers will come; the parents will send their children. At least, this is what I'm hearing. None of these people want to (or can they?) publicly support the idea. What does that tell you? That tells you that black people are not as free as we are considered to be.

Slavery divided us. Before the boats hit central and south america, for example, we were divided. Families from different tribes in Africa were taken and seperated so that they could not communicate amongst themselves.

In my anti-oppression class, I have noticed that black students rarely say anyting. Now, at the university level, I expect to be able to exercise ideas about current issues. It seems as though the white students are speaking more and realizing a lot more about themselves. This is great. As I sit in class and wonder what I'm getting out of the class, I ask myself what it is that I need to be able to grow and realize just as much as the majority of the class.

For me, when I think of working within the system, I think of policies and programs administered and defined by 'other' people; not those whom the service will be provided for. After more thought (somewhere between being awake or asleep) I began to challenge my assumptions. I have expanded my belief of working within systems already in place.

This is what I came up with at 2am:

African/Caribbean culture studies provided by volunteers. I am looking at education at the elementary school level. The volunteers would consist of teachers, professors, parents, students (from high school up) who will conduct the classes. I propose that these classes take place in public schools around the GTA for NO FEE (that's where the city of toronto shows their support). I see a mentor system where the high school volunteers get to take on leadership roles (which boost self-esteem and influence self-image). By teaching the elementary children and having teachers, parents, students and other mentors involved, we can create a new path in education within the system.

I want to emphasize the student aspect of this idea because I see them as the crucial link. They are role models for themselves and their peers. They will have someone to look up to while being the person other will look up to. The experience they will gain from thoroughly understanding what they are teaching and being able to learn how to teach it to others, empowers them, by their own doing.

Another idea I have is to have an organization get permission to act as "library" whereby people can go to one place...either on line or via mail to access all Black/Caribbean/Creole/African literature that is available. This means that the same books and articles available through universities would now be easily access by those who may not be part of the university community. I see inclusion; I see access.

I see tutorials of those teaching the classes, I see group meetings where adults can come to discuss readings. I see empowerment, I see education and I see unity. I see book clubs online and discussion.

I see it working within the system, I see change...grassroots change.


What do you think?


From: Toronto | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
sulfugor
recent-rabble-rouser
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posted 12 February 2005 01:40 AM      Profile for sulfugor     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I suppose that Black schools are worth a shot .

I just hope that this education expert won't be calling for Black universities or special admission criteria for black students a few years from now though .

To the person who said that east-indians were lumped in with blacks when it comes to academics : Are you serious ? East Indians are doing very well thank you very much, wether in canada, the USA or Britain, despite being dark skinned (for the most part ). I think it has much to do with east indian parents expecting NOTHING less than stellar results from their children, NO MATTER how "biased" or "non indo centric" the educational system is in the west.
These children eventually reap the enviable results .


From: qc | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jeit
rabble-rouser
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posted 12 February 2005 05:03 AM      Profile for Jeit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think it's a bad idea because...

These ideas always go in circles. First we complain that the standard system isn't accommodating enough.

If this idea went through, 10 years later someone would say "HEY WAIT A MINUTE! We have 2 tiers of education! We should be giving ALL students the SAME opportunity!" *yay!* and we go right back to how it is now.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
ayden
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posted 13 February 2005 05:20 PM      Profile for ayden   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
why not have black-focused/only schools?

i went to a queer-focused/only school, and that probably saved my life. the mainstream school system can be simply intolerable for marginalized youth. these schools are not a permanant solution, they're a way for at-risk kids to get through school without killing themselves or being killed.

for racialized youth and black youth in particular, the system
already is segregated, anyway.


From: toronto | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Negad
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posted 13 February 2005 10:04 PM      Profile for Negad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeit:
I think it's a bad idea because...

.....
If this idea went through, 10 years later someone would say "HEY WAIT A MINUTE! We have 2 tiers of education! We should be giving ALL students the SAME opportunity!" *yay!* and we go right back to how it is now.


teh problem is that this system doesn't provide all studnets with the same benefit.
In could have been a one tier school if the focus wasn't the shite midle class culture.
The system as it exists expect a group of students to accept others as superior and live by their rules and agenda.
Blacks, people of colour, aboriginals, queer folks,.. have different struggles in the soicety and different concerns from the main stream however the system as it is set up assumes that we live in a humuginized society and doesn't address struggles of those marginalized.
It revovles around the needs of only one group of people.
To make it short: the system as it exist presently is two tiers. Buidling balck focus schools won't make it two tier. In fact given that if it is set up properly it would remove tiers.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Jeit
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posted 14 February 2005 01:27 AM      Profile for Jeit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Where do you get this stuff about the current school system only revolving around the needs of one group of people? Maybe it's a Vancouver thing, but I have not seen the highschools you're talking about.
From: Vancouver | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
radiorahim
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posted 14 February 2005 02:15 AM      Profile for radiorahim     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think that there's a centuries-old history of slavery, colonialism, apartheid etc. that society has barely emerged from. And the black community is still living that history on a daily basis.

So defintely the idea of black-focused schools should be tried.

I can think of some other communities where approaches similar to this one might also be appropriate.


From: a Micro$oft-free computer | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Negad
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posted 14 February 2005 09:03 AM      Profile for Negad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jeit:
Where do you get this stuff about the current school system only revolving around the needs of one group of people? Maybe it's a Vancouver thing, but I have not seen the highschools you're talking about.

One can see it if they look at it. You would need to look at how subjects are beign thought adn the rules in schools. The "acceptable" code of conducts and whether those who teach in this system have a comprehensive undrestandig of struggles of those traditionaly marginlized.
Havign black history month by itself doesn't do anything.

If I am reading a lot of cook books that has receipes for healthy food and enjoy looking at the nice shiny pictures in it but I never cook any of them adn continue living on chips and dip and soda it wouldn't do my health any good.

Whether this system is built around your culture adn it suits you or you adopted the culture that is built around, doesn't mean that it address the struggles of all people.

There is a reason that many black students leave the present school system.

Edited to add: In many parts of the world (I ahven't look into how many and I amnot sure if there is a study exists about this) there are schools specifically for western children. They seem to allow other students as well. The reason for this is that they feel the regular schools do not address the needs of western kids and doesn't teach them their culture. Teh studnets from other parts of the world who attend these schools also ususally apot western culture and view things through the eyes of western culture.

[ 14 February 2005: Message edited by: Negad ]


From: Ontario | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
oldgoat
Moderator
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posted 14 February 2005 06:35 PM      Profile for oldgoat     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A big piece of this debate, which was only touched on by SocialWorks, involves the huge diversity within the black community. In fact a single "black community" only exists as a concept in relation to black people's experience of white people. If a young Carribean male is driving his BMW through Forest Hill at 2:00 AM, his experience of the police officer will be the same as his Somali neighbour, even though they share little else. Likewise, there will be similar experiences of a school system designed by a bunch of really cranky old white guys over a hundred years ago, so in that respect the proposition has some merit.

Other than that, it stikes me as a bit of a white centered view of the issue, by assuming a commonality among all black people that really isn't there. Just among Somali's alone, there'll be lots of differences from southern Somali's and those from Somaliland in the north. People from North of Kenya may culturally identify more with the Arab world, and to the south more as Africans. The Falashas of course will want more holidays. (that wasn't racist, it was just a joke)

I'm not opposed to the idea really, I just think it's a bit more complex than some might appreciate. Basically I agree with skdadl, in that I really believe that the best solution is in making one public education system, as good and as strong as it can be, but I guess that also means keeping an open mind and being willing to look at other ideas when a real problem is identified.

[ 14 February 2005: Message edited by: oldgoat ]


From: The 10th circle | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.R.KISSED
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Babbler # 1258

posted 14 February 2005 07:58 PM      Profile for N.R.KISSED     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Other than that, it stikes me as a bit of a white centered view of the issue, by assuming a commonality among all black people that really isn't there.

I think the idea would be that a broad enough representation of various components of the African diaspora would be available in a black focused school. The idea being a broadly Afro-centric narrative as opposed to the dominant euro-centric one that is presently in operation.

I think the main function of a black-focused school would be to challenge internalized assumptions that are held and reflected by the dominant culture and have a negative impact on black youths educational experience. The most obvious assumptions that are held are

a)negative assumptions concerning academic performance of black children.
b)negative assumptions concerning behaviours perceived as disruptive.

A black focused school would also be able to have more open and honest discussion with issues concerning experiencing racism. The dominant message that is often sent out is that racism is something that occured in the distant past in the deep south. We have seen enough times on babble how have trouble acknowledging continued systemic racism.

I would think that these are things that would be something those of African dissent experience in common.

I also don't think that internalized racist assumptions are something that will easily disappear they are embedded in western cultural narrative and those of us who grew up in this culture internalized these assumptions even if we consider ourselves overtly non-racist. That's my take on it. I think the thing that really has got me in a rage though is the manner in which the media intentionally distorted and sensationalized the issues raised by Prof. Dei.


From: Republic of Parkdale | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jeit
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Babbler # 7780

posted 15 February 2005 05:39 AM      Profile for Jeit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
People in China want to go to a western school because they believe it will give them a business advantage, it has nothing to do with reaching the needs of western children.

Children who go to school in an afro-centered school system will be left behind. I believe the future is about socio-economic status more so than racial or national identity.

When children enter the public school system we must be aware of different family backgrounds and find multiple strategies to maximize the accomplishments for all students. Dividing people up based on race is a big step backwards.

[ 15 February 2005: Message edited by: Jeit ]


From: Vancouver | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged

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