Virtual School GSAs: Community against Cisnormativity
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Virtual School GSAs: Community against Cisnormativity

Arthur Burrows  – 2021-02-25
Widespread transphobia and queerphobia means that many students who want to attend Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) do not do so because crossing the threshold into a classroom meeting may mean outing themselves to the entire school. On the other hand, Virtual GSAs offer possibilities for trans and queer students to form community.

Shock Therapy: Public Funding and the Crisis at Laurentian University

John Peters  – 2021-02-23
Claiming “unsustainable” debts, Laurentian University says it needs to cut professors and programs. Warning other universities that more financial oversight is coming, Ontario Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano said that “more dramatic and immediate action” will be needed. This not a new story...

There is nothing unsustainable about Laurentian University. Rather, it and other Canadian universities face governments crying poor while they bail out the rich and gut social programs for everyone else.

Walking the equity talk? Not! York Catholic Board hires white director with 3 years teaching experience

William Paul  – 2021-02-17
The York Catholic District School Board encompasses a fast-growing area with a wide diversity of students and families. Despite concerns of parents, and even a recent strike by students, the board perversely decided to hire a white male with 3 years teaching experience to be its new Director of Education. His main qualification appears to be his corporate experience.

Unlearning biases: The work of generations

Pinder Jhaj  – 2021-02-09
As BC teacher, Pinder Jhaj writes: "...we may celebrate significant days from different cultures, our libraries may finally be carrying books that represent children of different backgrounds, and we have guest speakers and resources at our fingertips to help our students learn about each other’s differences." But we still need to challenge our own biases to make real life at school reflect real equity.

Success Beyond Limits: Students active in their futures

William Paul  – 2021-02-04
So many students moving into secondary school start out pitching from behind. They've been transferred from grade to grade, don't yet have the basic academic skills they need and are adrift in school. Success Beyond Limits is there to give them options for a future that includes them.

Return to school: A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma cloaked in uncertainty

School Magazine  – 2021-02-02
To hear Education Minister Stephen Lecce tell it, the Ontario government is opening up the funding floodgates to make sure all students can return safely to school. At a news conference yesterday, he announced that the Ford government is providing an additional $381 million dollars for school safety. As always there's more to it...

Teacher-Volunteers: Unpaid labour a symptom of precarious work

Michael Mindzak  – 2021-01-19
Over the past decade, Ontario has found itself with thousands of teachers who have been unable to secure jobs in teaching. For many of them, volunteering has emerged as an unpaid way to get into the profession. But what does this say about the value we place on the work of educators?

Pro- Trump rioters storm U.S. Capitol: Educators respond

School Magazine  – 2021-01-14
Call it an insurrection against basic democracy; call it racist, violent and frightening in what it bodes for the future. But the attempted coup against the American government is also a terrific learning opportunity. Here is exactly where the idea of "really useful knowledge" applies.

Can the TDSB walk its talk on anti-racism at Queen Victoria PS?

William Paul  – 2021-01-11
Last June, School published two articles about a racist email sent to the former Vice-Principal of Queen Victoria PS. The TDSB launched an external investigation and put out an update in December. But questions remain about the degree of consultation with the school community.

What’s good for ED: resolutions for 2021

School Magazine  – 2021-01-04
Where to begin? While we were all trying to cope with the repeated shocks of COVID- 19 this past year, our Ontario government was busy. Yes, you have reason to be very concerned. But there were also people out in the community doing good work like organizing opposition to the Ford government. Below, School Magazine has listed 10 New Year’s Resolutions that would improve and respect education in Ontario along with the people who are connected to it.

Teaching in a time of COVID

School Magazine  – 2020-12-17
The best thing that can be said about the situation in schools under COVID-19 is that a vaccine has arrived in the province. Otherwise, "barely hanging on" looks like the most common description of the way things are going. With a government that would never put up the money to keep class sizes down, that's not surprising.

Toronto Catholic board promotes anti-racism plan

William Paul  – 2020-12-10
The Ministry of Education has told school boards to start collecting race-based data about their students by 2023. It plans to to end streaming as well as suspensions for kids from grades K-3. The Toronto Catholic Board has been working on this for awhile and plans to start collecting race-based data by March. The key question is what will change in the schools?

Data or politics? Why the answer still remains political

Rinaldo Walcott  – 2020-12-10
This essay points to a significant gap between calls for race-based data collection and the claim it will lead to better policy making. Instead the paper argues that there is a gap between data collection and the political decision making needed to implement sound policy

Leaked Alberta school curriculum in urgent need of guidance from Indigenous wisdom teachings

Dwayne Donald  – 2020-12-01
In Alberta, drafts of a proposed kindergarten to Grade 4 curriculum for social studies and fine arts were recently leaked to the media and have been broadly criticized by education experts.

The leaked curriculum suggests references to residential schools “can probably best be saved for later when learners are more mature,” for example Grade 9, and minimizes the impact of the schools and their harmful reach in the Canadian colonial context.

Stories of resistance: Resilience in the face of racism in education

Amrita Kauldher  – 2020-11-26
“Teaching is a language … what do we do with the experiences in our classrooms that made us feel too brown?”
I jotted down the quote above by Indigenous author Tracey Lindberg during a keynote speech. I have held on to it since. It has been incredibly powerful in my reflections as an educator of colour. Although Tracey speaks to the painful journey of being Indigenous in Canada’s education system, I am reminded of moments as a student where feeling “too brown” was immense.

Teaching the Radical Rosa Parks

Bill Bigelow  – 2020-11-18
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery Alabama bus on December 1, 1955. But there was much more to her life filled with activism and resistance; so much more for educators to use to explain how their students need not be trapped by history, but can do something about it.

Ontario’s 2020 budget – a “practical freeze” for education

School Magazine  – 2020-11-13
School boards are strapped for cash, but the $31 billion 2020 Ontario Budget released last week by the Ford government isn’t going to help them much.  According to economist Ricardo Tranjan, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) it’s essentially a “practical freeze” - one that will likely continue for the next couple of years.

Where is Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT) headed?

David DePoe  – 2020-11-09
What is going on at Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT)? Since a contentious election last spring, it's not clear what stance the union local will take on on the many issues to do with sustaining public education. It's time to clear the air.

Trumpism remains and must be defeated

School Magazine  – 2020-11-09
Educators across the U.S. have fought hard against the Trump administration along with all the other governments over generations that have tried to cut education and let it deteriorate. Strike after strike across America has had, at its core, the idea that education is inextricably entwined in the community in which it takes place. So, it’s only natural, that educators might have something to say about the Biden/Harris victory.

Extra pay for TDSB school admins – a tone-deaf move

William Paul  – 2020-11-02
What could TDSB directors have been thinking? At a time when everyone is barely managing to cope with the effects of COVID-19, they decided give Principals and Vice-Principals extra pay for their work over the summer. Are they lost in a bubble?

Charter schools: What you need to know about their anticipated growth in Alberta

Michael Mindzak  – 2020-10-29
In Alberta, the once-radical idea of charter schools, placed largely on the back burner for the past two decades, has been brought back to the fore under Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party (UCP). The party’s Choice in Education Act  came into force Sept. 1, after the government passed it June 24.

Under the new act, individuals will be able to bypass the local school board and apply directly to the provincial government to seek to establish a charter school.

Stephen Lecce scraps hiring rules and wins Snobelen Award

William Paul  – 2020-10-22
Stephen Lecce should win the John Snobelen Create a Useful Crisis Award for excellence in using the COVID-19 pandemic as a distraction for canning Regulation 274 that brought some transparency and predictability into hiring teachers at Ontario schools.

Dumping Regulation 274: The thing about hiring

Thom Corner  – 2020-10-21
Regulation 274 was the Liberal government's effort, in 2012, to shift the power imbalance between principals and school boards on the one hand, and underemployed teachers on the other hand. Not surprisingly, principals called foul, and the Conservative government agrees with them.

In class and online at the same time – really distant learning

William Paul  – 2020-10-16
It's only fair to say that providing any education across the province has become a logistical, expensive nightmare. Some boards are trying a model that divides students into two classes of learners - those who attend school in person and others who watch them.


Susan Atkins  – 2020-10-09
Our list of worrisome activities of the Doug Ford government since the end of June, 2018. It's updated regularly. The last addition was November 26, 2020

If you have information you'd like to share with us about the comings and goings of the Ford government, please email us at

Digital technology and BC education: Underlying issues revealed by COVID-19

Michelle Gautreaux and Anne Hales  – 2020-10-05
COVID-19 has put the issue of technology front and
centre in Canadian public education. While teachers across the
country have quickly adapted instruction to online formats, it is not the same as the careful, time-consuming process of creating online
courses or activities.

Orange and reconciliation: orange shirt day

School Magazine  – 2020-09-28
September 30 is "Orange Shirt Day" a day of solidarity with Indigenous people across the country to honour residential school children. It is a reminder that reconciliation and education go hand in hand.

COVID-19 Learning pods: an understandable but fearsome step

William Paul  – 2020-09-15
As kids return to school after 6 months, we learned yesterday that there were 313 new cases of COVID-19 reported compared to 33 a month ago. A possible second wave of the pandemic is certainly not going to inspire parents to send their children back to school. But what about the alternatives?

Ontario’s “nearly $900 million” for safe schools is actually much less

Ricardo Tranjan  – 2020-08-28
The Ministry of Education would like you to think the federal government provided $381 million to Ontario, on top of the nearly $900 million provided by the province to support provincial back-to-school plans.
Not so fast. An honest announcement would go like this: the federal government's transfer of $763 million to Ontario schools, greatly exceeds the $541 million made available from the province - once again rescuing Ontarians from their provincial government.

Does the Ford government really believe Black Lives Matter?

William Paul  – 2020-07-08
“First, what we are dealing with, at root and fundamentally, is anti-Black racism... it is the Black community which is the focus. It is Blacks who are being shot, it is Black youth that is unemployed in successive numbers, it is Black students who are being inappropriately streamed in schools, it is Black kids who are disproportionately dropping out…Just as the soothing balm of ‘multiculturalism’ cannot mask racism, so racism cannot mask its primary target.” – Stephen Lewis 1992

Educators too must work to upend the roots of racial violence

School Magazine  – 2020-06-01
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is one of the most activist educator unions in America. Time and again, it shows how it understands that education is not something confined to schools; that educators work and live in the world they help to explain. Here is a statement the CTU sent out earlier today about education under racism.

Teachers’ unions and COVID-19: time to step up

William Paul  – 2020-04-22
No question - we all need to take individual responsibility for getting through the COVID-19 pandemic. But let's not forget our collective responsibility as organizers and activists. Some education unions understand that their work only increases as times get harder. In Ontario, however, they could do better.

The math proficiency test: a solution looking for a problem

William Paul  – 2020-03-25
Doug Ford has no teaching qualifications or background but thinks he know why grade 6 students might not be making the grade on the annual provincial math assessment. He's decided that aspiring teachers need to be tested in math because they might not know enough about it.

There is no de-streaming without democracy and meaning

George Martell  – 2020-01-09
For the past year and a half School Magazine has concentrated on Doug Ford and the destruction brought about by his government on social services health, cities, transit, the environment, the legal system and – let’s not forget – education.

But there are other serious issues we need to keep our eye on. One of them is streaming kids into programs that limit their options. But is de-streaming, by itself the answer?