Pan Africanism : Afrocentric School Approved in Toronto

Discussion in 'African American History Culture' started by phynxofkemet, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. phynxofkemet

    phynxofkemet Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Jan 11, 2008
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    eartH (Heart) is my home
    Wednesday » January 30 » 2008

    'Afrocentric' school approved in Toronto

    Natalie Alcoba
    Canwest News Service

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    Angela Wilson, left, and Donna Harrow, right, celebrate after an a majority voting in favour of whether the City of Toronto should open an afrocentric school.
    Angela Wilson, left, and Donna Harrow, right, celebrate after an a majority voting in favour of whether the City of Toronto should open an afrocentric school.

    TORONTO - The Toronto District School Board narrowly approved a proposal to create the city's first Afrocentric public school during a meeting Tuesday night.

    Following more than two hours of public submissions, which including opposition to the motion from the mother of slain teenager Jordan Manners, the vote was recorded as 11 in favour and 9 against.

    One trustee was absent and board chair John Campbell excused himself from the vote.

    "I don't know if an Afrocentric school is the answer," said Sheila Ward, who represents Toronto Centre-Rosedale. But this proposal "is not about segregation or integration, it's about student success," she said, before raising her hand in support.

    Afterwards, a crush of reporters gathered around the two women who have pushed for the school as a way to help underachieving black youth succeed.

    "We're ecstatic," said Angela Wilson, who stood next to her co-organizer Donna Harrow. "We've got so many other things planned. This is not just it."

    The grade levels and location of the Afrocentric school have not yet been decided.

    All four recommendations put forward in a staff report, entitled Improving Success for Black Students, passed Tuesday.

    In addition to working towards opening an Afrocentric Alternative School in September 2009, the board endorsed the idea of establishing an enriched African curriculum in three existing schools by the start of the next school year, it approved a staff development, research and innovation centre that looks at ways to improve school achievement for marginalized and vulnerable students, along with an action plan that tackles that issue in the TDSB.

    The school board admits a "disproportionate" number of black youth are failing in their schools.

    According to its statistics, 40 per cent do not graduate, compared with about 25 per cent board wide.

    But advocates of the Afrocentric proposal say it is the existing "eurocentric" system that is failing black students, and believe the alternative model being presented is an endeavor worth trying.

    The TDSB defines an Afrocentric school as one which "uses the sources of knowledge and experiences of peoples of African descent as an integral feature of the teaching and learning environment." The school would be open to all students.

    In her submission to trustees before the vote, Loreen Small, whose son Jordan Manners was shot and killed in a public high school last year, said she worried the school would "segregate" students.

    "Martin Luther King and so many of our fathers fought to come together, so blacks and whites could be together," Ms. Small said. "This black school thing, no, it ain't right."

    During her presentation, Ms. Harrow said misinformation has buried the truth. The proposal "is not a black-focused school, is not a school for only black students," Ms. Harrow said. She added that an Afrocentric school would "nurture and support" all children as they strive to succeed.

    "We must speak the truth," said Ms. Harrow.

    "I believe one who opens school doors, closes prison doors," Ms. Wilson said. "It's not about segregation. It's about self-determination."

    Winston LaRose, executive director of the Jane Finch Concerned Citizens Organization, challenged that notion that public schools are beacons of diversity, saying that, in truth, many schools already "don't represent the diversity you so much talk about."

    Andre Levy, who lives in the Jane and Finch neighbourhood, called the proposal a "half-baked solution to issues faced by black students."

    Trustee Maria Rodrigues said she could not, in good conscience, deny "these black parents their right to establish an Afrocentric school." She voted in favour of the proposal, which she said would give students choices and work "to stop systemic discrimination" in public schools.

    Gerri Gershon, who represents Don Valley West, maintained that "separating kids according to their colour is simply not the answer."

    National Post
    © Canwest News Service 2008


    Copyright © 2008 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.
    CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

    I pray this school will have all the funding and support it needs - and that it will be the first on many more to come for Canada
  2. Destee

    Destee STAFF

    United States
    Jan 22, 2001
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    betwixt and between
    Ohhhhhhhhhhh Sister ... this is sooo wonderful !!!! :great: :great: :great:

    I was just reading an article about this, but it was written prior to the vote, which was scheduled for yesterday it said, so i didn't want to post about it not knowing the results!

    Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful !!! :great:

    Thanks for sharing!