February 1st, 2023
February 1st, 2023
QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario NDP MPPs Jill Andrew (Toronto—St. Paul’s), and Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre), are renewing Ontario NDP’s calls for mandatory Africentric education in K-12 Ontario schools as a critical step towards combatting systemic anti-Black racism.
“Anti-Black racism in Ontario is real,” said Andrew. “When Black children experience racism it has a devastating impact on their social, emotional, and academic progress. Immediate, student-affirming intervention is key.”
“As they make their way through their studies, Black students have been disproportionately streamed into applied classes, and often face harsher punishments than their white counterparts for the same behaviours. Black students have reported being called the n-word and other racial slurs at school with some adults questioning the validity of their accounts of anti-Black racism. This is gaslighting and it directly impacts students’ mental health.”
A recent survey by research and advocacy group People for Education found that almost 90 per cent of Ontario principals identify as white – a direct contrast to the diversity of most of Ontario’s schools.
“Beyond learning, schools need to places of joy, self-esteem, and confidence-building for all children including Black students. That means ensuring kids are seeing themselves reflected in the adults around them, and in the curriculum they are taught. Representation matters. That is why we will continue to join community in their calls for mandatory Africentric curriculum in Ontario schools.”
In their 2020-21 school year report, the Toronto District School Board’s Human Rights Office found that race-related complaints made up 57 per cent of all reported hate incidents. A majority – 61 per cent - concerned anti-Black racism.
“Addressing anti-Black racism in Ontario schools requires concrete action from this government,” said Lindo. “Ensuring that Africentric curriculum is mandatory in Ontario schools is an important first step. If we want to meaningfully support Blacks students across Ontario, we have to be intentional - Black communities deserve nothing less.”
The Ontario NDP’s advocacy for mandatory Africentric curriculum in Ontario schools has included tabling petitions addressing anti-Black racism, putting forth legislation addressing racial inequity in education, and participating in the #BlackedOutHistory campaign led by the Ontario Black History Society.