The eighteen percent Tory majority: what happened here?
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The eighteen percent Tory majority: what happened here?

William Paul  – 2022-06-09
There’s something happening here.” But it’s not Buffalo Springfield singing the song and not 1967, another dire time in history – it’s now and it’s Ontario where we have elected the same right-wing government for the second time in a row.

Schools, austerity & privatization in the pandemic era

Paul Bocking  – 2022-05-31
As we look back at the pandemic and look forward to the Ontario election let's remember that insufficient funding led to elementary schools with untenable class sizes and high schools with quad and octomesters. The result: learning gaps, long periods of virtual learning, and ‘disastrous’ hybrid learning in our schools.

We can’t afford 4 more years of Ford: Ontario Autism Coalition

Karen Bojti  – 2022-05-25
Autism advocacy is not for the faint of heart. Sure, we have gotten a lot of attention over the years. But what have we actually managed to change with a Ford government unwilling to listen? We can't afford for more years of obstruction and broken promises.

Fordwatch – Education: an election tool “for the people” to take on the Tories

School Magazine  – 2022-05-20
Governments often end up deserving to be defeated; the Ford government needs to be. It swaggered into  the legislature back in June 2018  with a cynical plan to dismantle fundamental services – “for the people”. If you'd like to see the back of the Tories, here's something you can use: FORDWATCH: EDUCATION with links to all the stories we’ve followed over the past tumultuous years. Updated: June 1, 2022


Susan Atkins  – 2022-05-19
Our list of worrisome activities of the Doug Ford government since the end of June, 2018. It's updated regularly. The last update was May 24, 2022

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

Ontario election: leaders debate – we check facts

School Magazine  – 2022-05-18
We know the Ontario election, like all others, is about retail politics – how candidates might best appear to be doing what needs to be done without costing their constituents any more than they absolutely have to. We know that platforms have a sell-by date of June 2.

But could ever do with a grasp of the future that extends a bit beyond that sell-by date.

What will it take to unseat the Tories? Episode 3

William Paul  – 2022-04-28
Doug Ford’s Tories need to be stopped if Ontario would rather not see four more years of even greater cutbacks, paving over green space, a party for developer friends and chaos in health, social services and education. With the campaign set to begin on May 4, there's lots to do.

OHRC’s “Right to Read”: a reader’s guide

William Paul  – 2022-04-21
Reading is a human right; you can’t adequately participate in society without it - economy, social connections, political life – nothing. Society requires good, critical readers. The question is, how well are schools doing on this score?

In April, celebrate the history of Latin-America not Hispanic heritage

Derik Chica  – 2022-04-13
We need to reconsider the use of the term “Hispanic Heritage” as something to celebrate in April. It was a Spaniard, Christopher Columbus, and future conquistadores after him who led a genocide on Indigenous peoples and used enslaved Afrikan and Indigenous people to build colonial empires in the Americas/Turtle Island/Abya Yala/Pachamama.

Autism Awareness Day – what families cope with to support their autistic kids

Karen Bojti  – 2022-04-07
Yesterday was Autism Awareness day. Many hear about the day but don't have much awareness of what life is like for kids and their families. I am one among a group of parent advocates who rise at dawn and work through the night. We try to dissect public policy and demand that Ontario create and maintain a needs-based system of supports for all autistic people .That’s a high calling.

Inside the Chaotic Charter Schools Run by a For-Profit Company

Jeff Bryant  – 2022-03-30
Former teachers and board members say charters run by Accel Schools are designed to fail. Accel Schools is a company that operates schools on an investor-driven business models meant to extract as much profit as possible from bare-bones operations.

Invasion of Ukraine: readings for educators

School Magazine  – 2022-02-28
How can educators teach about war? It is an awful question that resurfaces with every new aggression, that brings with it the morally bankrupt certainty that it is just, honourable and unavoidable. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine is no different – a message sent to the outside world through the death and misery of people and the promise of worse to come. Updated March 6, 2022

What will it take to unseat the Tories? Episode 2

William Paul  – 2022-02-24
For people troubled about the education in Ontario, just getting rid of the Ford government doesn’t mean the sun is going to rise again on students, educators and schools. The Liberals have been good at continuing neoliberal Tory policies with a more benign face. We need a strong NDP with substantive policies.

The freedom-flipped-on-its-head-convoy: readings for educators

School Magazine  – 2022-02-16
The so-called “Freedom Convoy” is at best about what some people consider to be their “freedom” to put those around them at risk of infection without consequence or responsibility. So - with our bias right out there - here is a list of readings that might help in understanding what's going on. Updated to February 21, 2022.

Critical Ontario Election 2022, and the case for the NDP

Doug Little  – 2022-02-07
The case against Ford and his notorious private high school attending, university frat boy Minister of Education Lecce, who’s bilious motivation in life seems to be racking up selfies, is legion. Getting rid of them and their pals is critical but doable. Here's the case for the NDP.

What will it take to unseat the Tories? Episode 1

William Paul  – 2022-02-03
There’s been a huge outpouring of opposition to the Ford government since it strutted into the legislature back in June 2018. So, what will it take to unseat Tories across the province? It’s a question we’ll be writing about in School Magazine over the next few months running up to the June 2 provincial election.

Back to school in Ontario: HEPA filters and what better leadership looks like

Krista Wylie  – 2022-02-02
As school boards try to follow provincial direction while at the same time effectively work with their stakeholders, they find themselves consistently being placed in challenging, near impossible, situations. Ontarians need a provincial government that values and strives for accountability and responsibility; effective and timely communication; authentic stakeholder engagement; and transparency.

May kids get Covid-19 vaccinations without parents permission?

Victoria Lunetta  – 2022-01-27
A common misconception among the general public is that in order for youth to receive medical treatment, parents and guardians have to provide healthcare consent on behalf of their child. However, Ontarians may be surprised to learn that some youth under the age of 17 do not need parental consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Schools need to step up to address Islamophobia

Nada Aoudeh and Muna Saleh  – 2022-01-20
The inspiration for this article was born of frustration and heartache following the murders of four members of the Afzaal/Salman family that left a nine-year-old child injured and orphaned in London, Ont., on June 6, 2021.

It also follows ongoing injustice related to state-sanctioned racism of Bill 21 in Québec and a rash of hate attacks in Alberta, most of them targeting Black Muslim women in hijab.

Doug Ford is “bracing for impact.” What about everyone else?

William Paul  – 2022-01-04
As recently as December 29 we didn’t know what the province’s plan was for return to school. Yesterday, Doug Ford said we are “bracing for impact.” As case counts rise exponentially, he ordered schools to go ahead with virtual learning for at least the next two weeks, imposed a pause on non-emergency surgeries, set restrictions on gathering and imposed closures.

Marc Garneau CI students say “NO” to silence

William Paul  – 2021-12-09
Roughly 200 students walked out of Marc Garneau CI last month. They were protesting how the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has handled what it considers to be antisemitism within its schools.

As revenues boom, Queen’s Park tightens the screws

Randy Robinson  – 2021-11-29
Back in March, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy tabled a 2021-22 budget that projected only a slight improvement in revenue over last year. By the time of his Nov. 4 fiscal update, the minister was seeing a revenue increase that was nearly 10% higher than March. Money was pouring into provincial coffers.

Firing Parkdale CI teacher should just be the beginning

William Paul  – 2021-11-20
The TDSB did the right thing to fire Parkdale CI teacher Gorian Surlan who came to school in blackface. The question now is what will the Board do next to deal with anti-Black racism that permeates our communities?

Parkdale rallies against anti-Black racism

School Magazine  – 2021-11-15
Parkdale parents, students and friends want to know what the Toronto District School Board is going to do about anti- Black racism in their community and throughout the system. They made their point clear on Saturday at a rally of about 200 people organized by Parkdale Against Racism outside Parkdale CI.

Parkdale CI: Students call out the truth of anti-Black racism

D Tyler Robinson  – 2021-11-15
We care about math, so there’s a kindergarten to grade 12 strategy for math. We care about literacy, so there’s a kindergarten to grade 12 strategy for literacy. If we want to address anti-Black racism and make sure we’re not standing out here tomorrow and next week and in different towns across the province, we need a kindergarten through grade twelve strategy in anti-racism and systemic oppression.

Remembrance Day: Flag-raising discussions in Canada pose questions about residential schools and what we remember

Trevor Norris and Frank Deer  – 2021-11-10
Remembrance Day brings up concerns about honouring veterans at the same time as respecting the Indigenous children who died in residential schools. Remembrance Day and the traumas experienced through residential schools are topics that demand thoughtful engagement — especially when explored in schools. Now is a good time to consider what is worthwhile observing and remembering.

Confronting the Right-Wing Attacks on Racial Justice Teaching

Rethinking Schools  – 2021-11-07
The Toronto District School Board posted a page by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre about what is alright to say about Israel and what is antisemitism (see article below). In light of that, here is an article from RETHINKING SCHOOLS about restrictions on the teaching of history and contemporary social reality.

“Let’s Be Honest:” TDSB stifles criticism of Israel

William Paul  – 2021-10-27
What’s going on with the Toronto District School Board?! It looks like it’s teamed up with the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) to outline what is okay to say about the State of Israel and what is antisemitism.

Mathematics and the arts: A powerful, productive, pedagogical pairing

Susan Gerofsky  – 2021-10-12
People talk about the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and how they are connected, but sometimes have difficulty understanding STEAM (STEM plus arts). Mathematics and the arts have equally close connections. Here are some thoughts on using an arts-based math pedagogy.

“Hybrid learning” is not learning

School Magazine  – 2021-09-22
"Hybrid learning" is a misnomer. There is no way to support the idea that learning is taking place in a class run by a teacher who has to teach students at school along with those watching from home.

Anti- Black racism at Queen Victoria PS: how serious is the TDSB about it?

William Paul  – 2021-07-05
After a year and a half the Toronto District School Board has produced a report about a racist letter written to the Vice Principal of Queen Victoria PS in Parkdale. The big question is whether it will lead to action or more rumination. What does the TDSB seriously plan to do about anti-Black racism?

Exposing the motive for the sudden wave of attacks on schools that teach critical race theory

Jeff Bryant  – 2021-06-18
In the US, there are moves to attack teachers for teaching historical, cultural or scientific reality. It centres on the politics of teaching critical race theory - the context of history that we see here in Canada surfacing with the so-called Indian Residential Schools. Politicians don't want teachers to teach divisiveness, and they're turning that demand into a way to privatize schools through 'choice.'

Tories use the notwithstanding clause like duct tape on freedom of speech and association

William Paul  – 2021-06-11
Doug Ford isn't about to let a little thing like a court decision stop him from shoring up his prospects for the June 2022 election. So, when the Ontario Superior Court decided that Bill 254 ran afoul of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, he recalled the Ontario Legislature to use the "notwithstanding clause" to override the decision.

Quebec’s Bill 21: diversity at the whim of the state

William Paul  – 2021-06-03
Quebec Premier Francois Legault recently got some good new and some bad news. The Quebec Superior Court said that his CAQ government could ban religious dress from public sector workers - just not those in English language schools. What does that mean for education in Quebec?

Where are the children buried?

School Magazine  – 2021-06-01
Where are the children buried? The ones who lie unmarked in other graves - there for convenience, for expediency - for fear of discovery.

TDSB teacher annoys Toronto Sun – gets pilloried for his trouble

Tim McCaskell  – 2021-05-28
Javier Davila is a Student Equity Program Advisor for the TDSB, who supports schools, educators and students in their anti-oppression activities. Last week he found himself in the crosshairs of the Toronto Sun’s right-wing attack mouthpiece, Sue Ann Levy.

Boycotting Occupation: Educators and Palestine

Rethinking Schools  – 2021-05-17
As we republish this article from Rethinking Schools, 192 Palestinians, including 58 children, have been killed in Israeli strikes since Monday May 9. Ten Israelis, including 2 children have died in the latest- possibly - worst violence since 2014. This piece, from 2016 is republished with permission of Rethinking Schools.

Human rights at the TDSB: complex but- surely- possible

Nigel Barriffe and David DePoe and William Paul  – 2021-04-29
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) recently put out a report on the alarming problem of unresolved hate and human rights complaints compiled by its Human Rights Office. Race or race-related grounds is the most frequently reported problem and it can take years to resolve a complaint.

Beginning the journey of reconciliation: Orange Shirt Day in elementary schools

Robin Drinkwater  – 2021-04-21
With the collaboration and support of the Orange Shirt Society, Alberta Educator Robin Drinkwater developed a curriculum for young people from Kindergarten to grade 6 based on Orange Shirt Day, set aside to acknowledge the destruction wrought by Canada's so-called “Indian Residential Schools”

Beginning the journey of reconciliation: an interview with Phyllis Webstad

William Paul  – 2021-04-21
Orange Shirt Day is the legacy of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemoration Project and Reunion that happened in Williams Lake BC in 2013. It is based on the story of Phyllis (Jack) Webstad who attended the Mission in 1973/74 when she was just 6 years old. Nearly 50 years later, Phyllis Webstad continues the work of teaching about Residential Schools.

Ontario’s ‘choice’ of fully online school would gamble on children for profit

Lana Parker  – 2021-04-14
Despite the lack of data outlining benefits to children, the Ontario government is discussing making full-time online schooling a permanent “choice” in public education. This idea is being introduced without adequate research, and stands to become the latest measure that raises inequality and threatens the viability of education as a public good.

Bargaining beyond bread and butter: Teacher unions and the common good

William Paul  – 2021-03-30
One of the most important ideas to take away from the new book "Teacher Unions and Social Justice" is that educators must work tirelessly with unions and their communities if they want to maintain jobs worth going to. Union - community solidarity is what it's all about.

Deconstructing anti-Black racism – a high school course

School Magazine  – 2021-03-24
At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, four TDSB teachers moved the ball forward for anti-Black racism education. Tiffany Barrett, D. Tyler Robinson, Remy Basu and Kiersten Wynter presented a course about the language and history of anti-Black racism, what it means to students trying to understand themselves within it and what change could look like.

Deconstructing anti-Black racism: an interview with the authors

School Magazine  – 2021-03-24
What thinking goes into a curriculum about deconstructing anti-Black racism. The teachers who put it together took time to talk to School Magazine about their thoughts on how they see the curriculum moving out to other students and people's reaction to it, so far.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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?