Toronto’s ‘all-black school’ could be “school within a school”

The debate over a proposed “all-black”/ “Afrocentric” for Toronto continues to raise debate. Judging by emails to On Deadline and the clicks and views to our post on the matter, the topic has left people wanting to know more.
I encourage readers of On Deadline’s posts on this topic to share their thoughts and comment. Your private emails to me are great, but I think the large number of consistent readers of this topic could learn more by reading what you have to say. I encourage you to share your opinions- it just may shed some more light on the subject for all of us.
Since news first broke about The Toronto Separate School Board’s 11-9 vote in favour of the all-black school proposal I have heard and participated in countless discussions about the subject. Whether at a restaurant, the gas station, work or the local shop, people are sharing their opinions on the matter.
The latest news has Ontario’s premier stating he does not support the idea of the school and no new provincial funds would be used to establish it. The province does fund alternative schools and this concept could fall under this umbrella it appears. It has been reported that Premier Dalton McGuinty said the province would only intervene against an all-black school if it became “a trend”. However, if it is a “school within a school”- rather than a separate entity- it will not interfere.
In this excellent Canadian Press McGuinty says:
“We believe it’s a matter of principle: that the single most important thing we can do for our kids is bring them together so they have an opportunity to come to know one another, to understand one another and to learn together and grow together,” McGuinty said today before a cabinet meeting.
He continues…
“There have been some changes made to the curriculum in the past and if we need to strengthen that further to ensure that it is truly inclusive, then let’s have that dialogue,” he said.
On another front, an attempt by a Toronto trustee for an emergency meeting on the subject has failed. The Toronto Star’s Linda Diebel has a very interesting piece on this development at Also, take note of the “school within a school” concept mentioned in this piece by John Campbell, the school board’s chair :
“The board didn’t say it had to be a separate school and there was nothing in the motion about a stand-alone nature,” stated Campbell in The Star story.

Hmmm…interesting- don’t you think?

My biggest fear as the chair decks get arranged on this subject is that the issue of reaching black students, let alone underachieving students of all races and lack of teacher resources, is going to get lost. Hopefully the politics of the situation will recede just enough so people will take just as hard a look at what other issues are hurting the entire public education system.

Please click here for our last post on this subject.

8 thoughts on “Toronto’s ‘all-black school’ could be “school within a school”

  1. Ontario funds over 100 specialty and alternative schools including arts-based, sports-based, Native, behaviour management schools, an all-year school, work-at-your-own-pace schools, night schools, gifted programs within schools, a gay/lesbian/trangender high school, etc. In addition, we fully fund French Immersion, French, Catholic, French-Catholic, two Protestant schools and five Ukrainian Eastern Rite schools under Catholic school boards. McGuinty has pledged 100 more specialty schools including a new art-based high school next year in Etobicoke. The Catholic schools are even sub-specializing with Catholic-arts high schools!

    Why this explosion of specialty and alternative schools? Because that’s what parents, kids and teachers are interested in!

    I would suggest that many schools are not successful simply because they have a focus which is “valuable” to society. Rather, these schools are successful because the kids and staff want to be there, share a common interest and bond, engage the families and communities and have an incentive to succeed. Successful schools have successful students – kids who grow up with good self esteem to be productive members of society.

    I cannot imagine a single specialty school where the children could not attend a regular local public school Mon-Fri and spend evenings and weekends focusing on their interests, be it language, arts, sports or religion. We all understand the convenience of having it all under one roof – but is the purpose of school funding to be merely convenient? School funding is for education – and interestingly enough, public/specialty/alternative schools all deliver.

    So let’s stop judging each other’s interests in education. So long as the educational requirements are met, let’s support all viable forms of SCHOOL CHOICE!

  2. Stacey

    If we start here, separating blacks, how far will it go???
    It’s wrong.
    Didn’t South Africa just get over Apartheid???
    I don’t have all the answers for what to do on the education side of things, but I do know this, that it’s NOT right.

    Segregation is wrong. period.

  3. Maeghan

    hi, my name is Maeghan. I am only 14 years of age, and i have so much to say. Like this is definetly wrong, what is going to be next??? black cities/white cities, black countries?? This goes to prove that we are not dumb no matter what color, or age we are. Let us ALL go to a school of mixed colors, let us all make friends. We all know what this is going to cause and it is NOT going to happen again. please god, don’t do this. Thank-you for listening.

    p.s. I am black and i don’t want to have to suffer from racism. Not now, not ever. And i will not be seperated from my friends.

  4. Nicole

    I my name is Nicole. I am 17 years of age and i think that an all black school is wrong. Right now me and my english class are doing a debate on the “all black school”. We have seperated into, For it and Against it. It was surprising when we had to choose sides that not one person went over to the for it side, even the “black kids” in my class were against it. I love my school we have so many different cultures and races it makes the school interesting and fun when we’re all together. One of my good friends is black and pictureing not being able to go to school with her becasue of the colour of our skins isn’t right and it seems like we are making our way back to that spot very quickly now that this new school has been approved. It’s just not right.

  5. Sam

    K so why cant we integrate the afrincan history/black history in the curriculum dont u think indian white asian or whatever they are need to here about the story of our people are we the only one who need to know our history. How is putting a bunch of kids who already dont do well in school all togheter so they can do better arn’t they going to do worst. the problem is deeper then this having a africentric schoool wont solve dropout percentage. It’s deeper then that we have to stop putting band-aids we have to dig deep and find the source yes it will take a longtime but at least then we\ll see some results so i really donthink this africentric school is the solution even if its with good intentions. Every single race in the world needs their story heard not just by their people but by the rest of the world.

  6. Chris

    Stupid ideas come from stupid people. The idea that a black child can learn more from an all black school may have some merit, (such as an extra curricular thing that teaches history and shows blacks how to be proud of their ancestors, on weekends) but i am more concerned about where the idea came from. All I see are black people saying that white teachers don’t give my child the attention he/she needs because they are too busy giving all their attention to the white kids. What a load of CRAP! Black people need the crutch that white people bring them down and are the cause of all the bad things that happen to them. Don’t create something that separates blacks from whites with the facade that it’s for the good of the children when it’s for your own misguided pride. People are people! Don’t separate us!

  7. ed

    What would Martin Luther king say? After all that work to let black people go to the same schools as white people, they are trying to segregate them again. This entire idea is backwards.

  8. em

    I don’t think that it is ever ok for children or adults to be denied something they want based on the colour of their skin. To have an all black school is to deny non-black children from what could potentially be an amazing educational experience. Not to mention that if the all black school only allows black teachers then adults are being denied jobs because of the colour of their skin. If the school is being built so that there is a greater inclusion of African American history in the curriculum then shouldn’t all children get to learn this historical information. We are all the same and we are all equal and all children should go to school together. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that one day “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” and how can our children do this if they are not even able to go to school together.

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