PPC candidate questions school board’s equity, anti-racism and inclusivity policy

The following reader’s letter was received July 15 2021:

Is it too late to save our education system?

The Renfrew County District School Board has just announced a new position of Principal of Equity, Anti-Racism and Inclusive Education.  I contacted the board and asked for details on the job description, key tasks to accomplish, the associated costs for this new level of bureaucracy and a rational as to why this new position is needed in Renfrew County.  A response came from Renaud Cousineau, OCT Pronouns: he/him/his, Superintendent of Education.

Mr. Cousineau explained “As a school board we are required to create and maintain an equitable education system that creates positive educational outcomes for all students and must pay particular attention to the educational environments and outcomes of all students from groups that have historically been disadvantaged and marginalized.”

He went on to say that the Principal of Equity, Anti-Racism and Inclusive Education will “lead the implementation of an equity and anti-racism and inclusion strategy as mandated by the Ministry”.

Funding for this position is not directly covered by the province but money will become available “to support the transformational changes required and the opportunity to hire staff to lead this work”.

Equity:   So what could be wrong with any program that is based upon ‘equity’?  A definition helps to illustrate the problem: “Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome”.    In short, this is an impossible task to fund and manage, not to mention that equal outcomes are impossible.  It does create a lot of jobs and opportunities for inappropriate application, but does it actually solve any problems? 

Anti-Racism:  This seems to be one of those expensive solutions looking for a problem.  Those embracing claims of systemic racism may have the best of intentions but are conflating individual acts of ignorance (identified recently in local media) as evidence of systemic racism.  Politicians then support government funded programs to educate staff, students and the general public on an institutional problem that does not exist.  Racism is the go-to word to affect quick change.  It has been weaponized and used all too often to bully individuals and groups into giving radical left-wing groups what they want.  It is a threat to social cohesiveness.  To have a senior staff member with a job title that includes Anti-Racism is frankly insulting.  Only the Ministry of Education could come up with something so divisive!

Inclusiveness:  A lofty goal but totally impossible to meet in many cases for a variety of legitimate reasons.  In this environment, expectations must be managed as the system simply cannot respond to every demand.  The primary focus needs to be on educating.

Every student in Ontario costs taxpayers $13,894 per year (2016/2017).  Over the past fifteen months the educational system has effectively been curtailed.  The cost of this interruption will be borne by taxpayers many of whom lost their livelihoods during the lockdown.  I also suspect the cost of another layer of endless bureaucracy throughout every school board in Ontario will not be well received by many citizens.

In closing, since our country and province are financially compromised, is it not time to focus on the fundamentals of education?  Is it not time to re-create classroom conditions where teachers can actually teach students who actually want to learn?  Is it not time to help those with disabilities and fail those who refuse to help themselves by doing the work?  Students and parents have a responsibility to honour and respect the educational opportunities that are equally available to all.  Parents have a responsibility to instill good manners and a strong work ethic within their children and send them to school prepared for the day.   Is this really too complicated?

It is clear that something has to change at the Ministry of Education as it seems that we are going down the same road as our friends south of the border.   So-called progressive ideologies under the banner of identity politics have taken hold of their (USA) educational institutions and the debate over Critical Race Theory is tearing many of their communities apart.   We in Canada need to do our part to stop this madness by voicing our concerns and voting in governments that have the resolve to oppose these costly and divisive initiatives.  Someone needs to stand up for common sense and for Canada!

David Ainsworth

Citizen and Official Candidate for People’s Party of Canada, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke

Photo: EdCan Network

3 Comments

  1. Eve-Marie Chamot

    Apparently the Ontario Ministry of Education has mandated a program of “Equity, Anti-Racism and Inclusive Education” but has not allocated any funding for it but hopefully money for it will “become available” from somewhere (perhaps the “Pot of Gold” hidden somewhere in the wilds of western Renfrew County at the end of the Opeongo Rd?).

    I think Mr Ainsworth is agitated over non-existent money being spent on a rather abstract program
    when more money needs to be spent on more practical stuff such as vocational training since not everyone wants to go to university and a lot of totally bored 16-year-olds would really like to just go to work asap and join the adult world.

    Why is Mr Ainsworth, a federal candidate, getting so agitated over education which is purely a provincial responsibility?:- perhaps he should stay with elephants which are subject to overlapping federal, provincial and municipal jurisdiction.

    Btw, I found it easier to understand the gist of Mr Ainsworth’s “word salad” than Mr McCloskey’s “word salad”
    but actually I prefer the canned fruit salad I get from the supermarket:- we all seem to be a bit overstocked on “word salad” these days, I much prefer listening to “whispering pines” and “The Log Driver’s Waltz”.

  2. Michael J. McCloskey

    This word salad from David Ainsworth reminded of the quote often attributed to H.L. Mencken that “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem- neat, plausible, and wrong.”
    That the leader of this fringe party was arrested earlier this month for violating public health orders in Manitoba tells me that they don’t really “get” science. I don’t think it too much of a stretch to extrapolate that maybe they don’t quite “get” education either but whatever I clicked on it so…maybe he’ll surprise me.
    He did not surprise me.
    But because I always try to never have a “wasted read” I read the thing in its entirety because the People’s Party of Canada is always a good barometer of how much Fox news crazy has oozed in. So if we go to our Alt-Right buzz word bingo cards we can fill out quite a lot of them in just this one piece: No to “equity”, no to “anti-racism”, no to “inclusiveness,” the grievance politics that he is personally “insulted” (somehow) that someone at the school board has Anti-Racism in their job title, and a bonus for mentioning “Critical Race Theory” red-herring.
    But folks here’s the thing: this is what his online bio has to say about him.
    “he was always able to rely on a dedicated management team to respond to any challenge and make the best of the circumstances. This, he felt, was due to a personal management style that was inclusive and supportive. Management with respect and leading by example was always a guiding principle. Gender equity and equal opportunity was encouraged and supported long before these topics became mainstream issues.” Peoples Party of Canada – David Ainsworth – Ottawa Valley (insideottawavalley.com)
    So what happened David? You were cutting edge- pre-mainstream (tributary?) even. You were for gender equity and being inclusive and supportive.
    Would the real David Ainsworth please stand up?
    Actually I am just joking. Please just sit down. The electorate is trying to have a conversation on issues. Thanks.

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