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TORONTO – Now close to ten years since provincial governments have been pushing equity and inclusive education in public schools. The lofty idea is to eliminate racism and homophobia and make our schools safe and welcoming environments.

All students must achieve their best. Sounds great on paper. And most institutions and corporations have bought into the policy as well.

The Ministry of Education 2014 guiding document for the policy in Ontario is titled, “Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools: Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation.”

This is how equity, inclusive education and diversity are defined:

Diversity. The presence of a wide range of human qualities and attributes within a group, organization, or society. The dimensions of diversity include, but are not limited to, ancestry, culture, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, language, physical and intellectual ability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

Inclusive education. Education that is based on the principles of acceptance and inclusion of all students. Students see themselves reflected in their curriculum, their physical surroundings, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honoured and all individuals are respected.

Equity. A condition or state of fair, inclusive, and respectful treatment of all people. Equity does not mean treating people the same without regard for individual differences.

And these are the three main goals of equity and inclusive education:

1. shared and committed leadership by the ministry, boards, and schools to eliminate discrimination through the identification and removal of biases and barriers;

2. equity and inclusive education policies and practices to support positive learning environments that are respectful and welcoming to all;

3. accountability and transparency with ongoing progress demonstrated and communicated to the ministry and the community.

The plan on paper sounds good. But who defines what these words mean “on the ground”? Who gets to be accepted or excluded? What views are protected in the safe spaces? After all, nobody in his right mind objects to ending racism, sexism and homophobia. Yes, identify those who have the power and privilege in society to shape our current views. Schools should be places where all students learn to their potential and feel safe and accepted.

However, the DIE policy of diversity, inclusion and equity in its implementation has brought discrimination, division and even violence. There is now plenty of evidence.

If equity education were so good, then 17-year-old Josh Alexander would be in school and not kicked out for supporting the girls who didn’t want boys to use their washroom.

If inclusive education were so good, then Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Michael Del Grande would not be attacked and censured for defending Catholic teaching. The policy makes no accommodation for Religion and denominational rights. The new secular “bible” is the Ontario Human Rights Code.

If diversity education were so good, then Toronto District School Board principal Richard Bilkszto (in the pic below, from National Post) who dared to question the policy might still be alive. He was criticized and shamed in front of his peers for not accepting critical race theory. He rejected the idea that Canada is systematically racist and that he was a white supremacist. The mental stress from the criticism must have been too much and he paid the ultimate price. Bilkszto sadly took his own life.

If inclusive education were so good, we would not have girls afraid to use their washroom and teachers and administrators refusing to come to school because the school environment isn’t safe.

If diversity education were so good, we would not have teachers and trustees cancelled because they raised issues about teaching or library resources which have explicit sexual content not appropriate for children.

If the DIE policy were so good, then parents who object to flying the rainbow flag during an entire month and want to have a say in their children’s education and question teaching children gender identity and critical race theory would be listened to and not cancelled.

We could list many more examples. The bottom line: equity and inclusive education is proving to be a complete failure. It’s time to repeal this toxic policy.

What a waste of taxpayer dollars that could be spent on real student learning.

Forget trying to revise the misguided policy. It must be scrapped. Catholic schools have the right to completely reject it.

The divisive policy has no place in public schools and other institutions. It has not met any of its three main goals, especially when it comes to transparency and accountability. There is no accountability. Parents must work on getting rid of “inclusive education” and protect their children from this dangerous policy.

Lou Iacobelli

In the pic above, the Toronto District School Board Education Centre (foto credit Bob Krawczyk – acotoronto.ca) 

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