BLACK STUDENTS MATTER
Parents of Black Children Demands
Parents of Black Children is committed to ensuring equity and inclusivity in the Ontario Education System. As such, we have sent the following demands to the Government of Ontario and, specifically, the Ministry of Education.
Demand 1: Reform the Education Act
We demand that the Education Act be reformed to include and identify Black people in Canada as having a right to a curriculum that represents them, as much as any other student; to recognize the right of Black people to control, manage and deliver educational programs and services for Black students.
Demand 2: Decolonize The Curriculum
We demand that all Ontario curriculum be decolonized to prioritize Black history. Black Canadian experiences must be built into all school curriculums, K-12.
Demand 3: Eliminate ALL Streaming
We demand that the Government of Ontario eliminate ALL forms of streaming from K-12 to ensure that Black students can reach their full potential.
Wins: In 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Education announced that streaming for Grade 9 math would end in the 2021/22 school year. While Parents of Black Children is happy to see a step forward to end streaming, this is not enough. Streaming starts as early as kindergarten and these new regulations do not prevent streaming in other grades or subject areas.
Demand 4: Fund Education System Navigators
We demand government funding for Education System Navigators for Black parents and students.
We demand that the Government of Ontario provide funding for Black-founded, Black-led, Black-serving community groups to hire Education System Navigators in all public boards, including Catholic boards, to help Black families advocate and navigate the education system and represent students and families when they are faced with anti-Black racism in schools.
Demand 5: Police-Free Schools Province Wide
We demand #POLICEFREESCHOOLSONWIDE
We are in solidarity with LAEN (Latinx, Afro-Latin-America, Abya Yala Education Network) in demanding that schools across Ontario, at all educational levels including post-secondary, be mandated police-free immediately.
This includes the removal of any “police in schools” programs (e.g. School Resource Officer Program, School Engagement Team program, Police Liaison Officer program, Student Liaison Officer program, Campus Police Special Constables, etc).
Demand 6: Collect Race Based Achievement and Discipline Data
We demand that all school boards across Ontario collect race-based data on student achievement and discipline.
All publicly funded boards must be required to publicly publish disaggregated race-based data AND to act on the data that they are collecting.
The Ministry of Education should also create an education data oversight division to rank, monitor, and hold school boards accountable for their commitment to equity.
Demand 7: Accountability for Teachers
We demand that the Ontario College of Teachers Act be amended to (1) include anti-Black racism as professional misconduct (2) make anti-Black racism infractions reporting mandatory to the Ontario College of Teachers; (3) Ontario College of Teachers Investigation Committee members must have human rights and anti-Black racism background
We also demand that the province and school boards take immediate steps to address and combat teacher biases that lead to disproportionate levels of harsh discipline, lower grades, and inequitable outcomes for Black students through initiatives such as regular anti-racism training, teaching performance review, assessment, and monitoring.
Wins: In November 2020, The Ontario College of Teachers announced that “the regulation that underpins discipline in teaching now recognizes hatred as a form of professional misconduct. The Professional Misconduct regulation, made under the Ontario College of Teachers Act, now includes ‘making remarks or engaging in behaviours that expose any person or class of persons to hatred on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination under Part I of the Human Rights Code.'”
Parents of Black Children is pleased to see the Ontario College of Teachers make these updates. Regardless, there is still much work to be done at the school and board level, as well as to ensure that teachers who demonstrate anti-Black racism are truly held accountable under these new regulations.
Demand 8: Equity Audits of School Boards
We demand that the Government of Ontario immediately implement random equity audits of school boards as public accountability should be a tenet of our education system.
Human rights reports should not be the responsibility of parents and students who have survived racial trauma at school to write.
Demand 9: Anti-Racism Courses in Faculties of Education
We demand that universities and colleges with Faculties of Education and Early Childhood Education programs be required to make trauma-informed, anti-racism, anti-oppression, and equity-based strategies for teaching mandatory parts of their curriculum and course requirements for graduation.
Demand 10: Hire Black Teachers
We demand that the Ministry of Education and publicly funded school boards create short-term and long term plans to hire Black teachers, Black guidance counsellors, Black administrative and front office staff.
There is a severe lack of representation across the Canadian school system that must be immediately addressed.