December 2nd, 2019

NDP calls on Education Minister Lecce to reverse his decision not to appoint Black experts to the review of anti-Black racism at the Peel District School Board

QUEEN’S PARK — MPP Jill Andrew, the Official Opposition NDP’s critic for women’s issues and culture, and member of the NDP Black Caucus, has called on the Education Minister to reverse his decision not to appoint a Black reviewer to the Ministry’s review of anti-Black racism at the Peel District School Board (PDSB).

“The exclusion of a Black reviewer from the Peel District School Board Review is shocking,” said Andrew.

“Black community members are once again forced to commit to the emotional and intellectual labour of educating non-Black reviewers on what anti-Black racism looks like rather than have the opportunity the Minister promised them to disclose their experiences and have solutions presented to them by experts with lived experience of anti-Black racism.

“The disproportionate streaming of Black children into applied courses, disproportionate rates of suspensions and expulsions of Black children for behaviours non-Black children have received warnings or lesser consequences for, and anti-Black racist language used against Black children are a few of the myriad examples of anti-Black racism in education.

“Why did the government fail to appoint a Black reviewer to a review that is supposed to look at anti-Black racism within the Peel District School Board?” asked Andrew during Monday’s question period at the Ontario legislature.

Andrew reminded the Minister that previous reviews such as the Stephen Lewis’ Report on Race Relations (1992), the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence (2008) by Dr. Alvin Curling and Roy McMurtry, and Towards Race Equity in Education (2017) by Dr. Carl James and Tana Turner, have centered Black reviewers and that a long list of Black experts with lived, academic and professional experience is readily available.

“The passing over of Black experts is, frankly, disappointing and insulting. The government’s decision suggests that there are not qualified Black experts available which is untrue. This decision only causes further concern that the Ford Government lacks a true commitment and understanding of what is necessary to address anti-Black racism within our school system,” added Andrew.