Toronto District School Board

Summary and Recommendations of the Enhancing Equity Task Force Draft Report

The Toronto District School Board is a leader in equity, but it recognizes that more can be – and must – be done to support students, especially the most marginalized. The Board’s commitment to finding solutions in partnership with the community is evident through the creation of the Enhancing Equity Task Force – a collaborative effort between the TDSB and its communities. The Task Force’s mandate was to bring people together, learn from each other and explore what’s working, what isn’t and how to improve it.

Over the past year, the Task Force led a community engagement process to explore what equity strategies have worked and identify where challenges remain. Conversations were sharpened by asking: if we largely know what the problems are and what needs to be done, what is keeping us from making progress?

The recommendations that follow offer guidance to the TDSB on how to enhance delivery of an equitable education by providing direction for resource allocation and developing mechanisms to track progress. And, perhaps most importantly, seek to answer the question: now what?


How Were People Involved?

  • Task Force Planning Group included Trustees, community members, community organizations, academics, unions, staff and students
  • Four Task Force Working Groups
  • Eight Task Force Joint Ward Forums reaching 1,300 community members
  • Outreach to students and parents
  • Enhancing Equity Task Force Summit for TDSB staff and community leaders
  • Staff support (Research, Leadership Team)

What did the Task Force Hear?

Input fell into eight key categories:

  • Barriers to equity including inequities between schools, students, and neighbourhoods, socio-economic issues and structural issues like programs and policies. (report pages 13, 14)
  • Bias and discrimination including racism, Islamophobia, biased curriculum and materials, biased teachers and staff. (report pages 14-16)
  • Need for more inclusivity including cultural representation and appreciation, needs of newcomers and refugee families, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, learning styles. (report pages 16, 17)
  • Need for more student voice including opportunities to engage students meaningfully and ensuring students have access to caring adults in schools. (report page 17)
  • Need for more authentic parent and community relationships. (report page 18)
  • Special Education including improving parent engagement in decision-making, exploring better support models and addressing accessibility issues. (report page 19)
  • Need for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force. (report pages 19, 20)
  • Need for more professional learning for everyone. (report page 20)
  • Need for accountability and transparency on equity issues. (report pages 20, 21)

What Patterns and Themes Emerged?

  • The problems of social and economic inequity are greater than the Toronto District School Board. (report page 22)
  • Divisions between and within schools. Wherever there were divisions between schools, traditionally marginalized students ended up being under-represented and not having equitable access to these opportunities as other students. (report pages 22, 23)
  • Developing a mindset of true partnership and mutual respect with students, parents, caregivers and communities. (report pages 23-24)
  • The need for monitoring, transparency, tracking and reporting. There is no central system for recording or tracking incidents based on discrimination, racism or hate in schools and, when incidents do occur, how they are dealt with varies widely. (report pages 24-25)

From all of this, one clear vision emerged: equitable access to specialized programs in strong neighbourhood schools including:

  • Equitable learning opportunities, free of barriers, for all students to reach their full potential;
  • Programming and staffing that is reflective, relevant and responsive to the cultures, identities and needs of the students and the community served;
  • A school culture that is safe, welcoming, caring and actively stands against bias and discrimination including racism and hate; and
  • Active engagement with parents/caregivers and the community as authentic partners in promoting students’ learning and well-being.

Learn about the 
Task Force and its recommendations


Enhancing Equity Task Force

 


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