Mrs. Ihsan El-Sayed


Presentation to the TDSB

Equity Foundation Statement

June 23, 1999

155 College Street

Thank you for granting me the opportunity to speak as a parent to the TDSB regarding the Equity Foundation Statement which I had the opportunity to contribute in its development, and is before the Board tonight. Also, I participated actively in the formation of the Antiracism and Ethnocultural Draft Policy for the former Etobicoke Board.

As a representative of one of few community groups that sat on the Equity in Education Committee, our understanding all along was that the purpose and initial intent was to develop the foundation statement to compliment the Antiracism and Ethnocultural Draft Policy that the TDSB already harmonized from the previous boards.

Furthermore, the Directorís update of May 29, Ď98 on task groups, stated, "There may be a need to establish an additional task group to specifically address the issues of equity."

The Antiracism and Ethnocultural Draft Policy was based on the principles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; the Ontario Human Rights Code; and the Ministry of Education and Training Policy memorandum # 119. We find it necessary to remind the TDSB that this policy is part of the Education Act and it is not only the TDSBís legal responsibilities to uphold the Education Act, it is also your moral duty to ensure that the Antiracism and Ethnocultural Policy remain a separate and distinct policy, along with other policies dealing with the equity, by which the Board governs itself.

The New Perspective of Antiracism and Ethnocultural Draft Policy, as an implementation plan, came into place to assist the school boards with the implementation plan and therefore, to strengthen the policy itself, not to diminish it.

In addition, it has been brought to our attention that the Task Group, after public consultation, recommended that the Antiracism and Ethnocultural Equity remain a POLICY and that other policies be developed to address all areas of equity. The various racial and ethnic communities in TORONTO will not accept anything other than a POLICY.

Through different procedures the task groupís recommendations were changed from a policy to a resource document. Also, the purpose of the foundation statement was reversed from addressing issues that are not being clearly defined in the Antiracism and Ethnocultural Draft Policy to a foundation statement that governs all TDSB policies.

The foundation statement did not have the proper and balanced input from the various visible minorities and ethnic groups that make up our diverse city. Many of these communities were not being informed, nor consulted of all these changes taking place. This foundation statement should be put for public consultation with full explanation in simple and clear language of what purpose it serves and how it effects, in particular, the antiracism and ethnocultural draft policy. We request that the TDSB clarify and explain the rational behind the fact that the antiracism policy becomes a resource document, while the equity foundation statement becomes a policy. This should be addressed by a public consultation, before a final decision is made. In addition, we request that the TDSB put all policies being modified or developed for public consultations.

In conclusion, the Equity Foundation Statement is not a policy and we strongly recommend that it be put for public consultation; the antiracism and ethnocultural policy, remain a policy.