TDSB should keep religious neutrality, Eurocentric curriculum, and quality teachers
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Please, remove out of TDSB Enhancing Equity Task Force Plan (2017) any provisions and any recommendations related to the Biased curriculum and shift from Eurocentered focus of education ( p.15, Appendix B p. 48), Islamophobia (p.15, and Appendix B p.48), and changes of staff hiring practices (p.33, Appendix E on p.81) as they do not appear to be in the real interests of our children and TDSB students.
First, how TDSB is going to overcome Euro centric focus in education? On page 48 of the document in Appendix B the column “actions being undertaken” says,
· Incorporate equity into curricular approach and “de-center” the Eurocentric curriculum.
Provide textbooks and materials that are more representative of the varied cultural and linguistic student bodies
If we understand it right, our children will be forced to learn about alien to them Islamic cultures? This causes a danger of further flashing of non Islamic students out of TDSB system . For example, the deficient quality of TDSB education is evident for many parents who take their children out of TDSB for home or private schooling regardless of hardships for families. Those parents simply want their children know the things that are in curriculum but poorly taught because teachers are busy to accommodate incompatible cultures instead of teaching. If you change the good things that are still left in the school education for less Euro centric, this will lead for massive exodus of Eurocentric students from TDSB. Fighting inequity for Islamic students will cause inequity for students of European background and those with Canadian Heritage.
Second, we strongly disagree with the point about Islamophobia. On the page 48 we read under recommendations,
· Better staff knowledge and consideration of the needs of Muslim students, for example, planning of trips and events in relation to religious holidays
· Offering religious accommodations such as offering halal food in the school or on excursions/events
The school system should stay secular because Secularism makes school neutral and acceptable for everyone in multicultural society. Islam is a religion, not the race and we do not understand why Muslims should be treated better than Christians, Jewish, Atheists or others? If non Islamic people culturally are more tolerant and not aggressive in representation of their views, it does not mean TDSB should mistreat them by giving more privileges for Muslims. Moreover, Religious people are given the possibility to teach their children in specialized religious schools that follow all Islamic requirements and traditions. There are many of them in Toronto. Other way, Muslims should accept the common rules existing in our schools like others do. To sum up, Islamophobia exists only in the mind of religious Muslims, it does not exists in TDSB or in the mind of other non Muslim people. So there is no need to fight nonexistent problem investing taxpayers’ money in it, instead of investing in quality of teaching.
Third, it is unclear what TDSB means under “ to change a hiring practice”? On page 33 the document recommends,
"Prioritize the hiring of diverse staff with an equity lens and that are representative, especially in terms of racialized backgrounds, of student bodies and the multicultural nature of Toronto ".
We are afraid that this clause will lead to discrimination of teachers with EuroCanadian background. Does it mean the shift toward the hiring of ethnic teachers or quality teachers? We do not want any experiments on our children; therefore we want quality teachers instead of racialized or radicalized ones. For example, when there is a choice of candidates for teaching position, TDSB should not choose according to internal policy to hire the candidates of specific background, but according to the merits of the person. Furthermore, the teacher is perceived by children as an example. We do not want alien examples for our children as we want them to stay in Canadian Historic heritage.
On the whole, the clauses about the Biased curriculum and shift from Eurocentered education, Islamophobia, and changing hiring practice are simply unacceptable because they could lead to negative ramification that may overcome their intended purposes. Please advocate for removing them from the Enhancing Equity Task Force Plan.”
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