TDSB: Enough is too much! No need for KOJO
TORONTO – As business enterprises go, the Toronto District School Board manifests all the signs of a sick organization. It is “kept alive” by government tolerance for incompetence.
From a [partial] finances point of view, it is a very large corporation. In academic year 2022-23, it received $ 2,981,220, 036 (the first digit is for Billions, the second for hundreds of millions) in grants for student needs (GSN) from the Ministry of Education. There are other monies available that bring the total up. That will be for another column.
The TDSB reported an average daily enrolment of 226,624 students for the year. It is the fourth straight year in which it experienced a decline (4,000 less than last year). Yet the average per student GSN, at $13, 154 was $92 per student more than the provincial average of $13,058 and generated some $21 million extra dollars for a troubled organization better known for its violent school settings than for its academic scores.
Lately it has drawn attention to its devotion – pardon the choice of words, it is a secular board – to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). This is part of the provincial strategic plan for Education, among others, they say. Who can argue if the outcome is a more skilled, better prepared student ready to take on challenges of the marketplace?
To put this plan into effect, the TDSB has Leadership structure that would put a Federal Cabinet to shame. The Prime Minister just rearranged his political ministers (38). The TDSB has 49 senior administrators (superintendent level) each of them reflective in one way or another that DEI (see https://www.tdsb.on.ca/portals/0/aboutUs/docs/SeniorTeamDirectory.pdf).
It prompts one to wonder why this group would have felt it necessary to retain the KOJO Institute to address a culture of “systemic racism” among its staff. Fourteen (14) of the 49 administrators are Black, including the top administrator/Director. That is 29% of the total in a system where, by its own analysis, only 11% of students fit the same description. Success in strategy is to be measured improved outcomes system wide.
Nineteen (19) members of the “Cabinet”/ “Senior Team” are Caucasian, twenty-seven (27) are women. My apologies to anyone who may feel I left out some other distinguishing characteristics. I relied on the photographs in the link above; besides, this is about the “Plan” and death of Richard Bilkszto related to those who promoted and justified the retaining of the KOJO institute.
Twelve (12) or 25% of the Senior Team have direct responsibilities associated with elements of DEI. Bear with me, the list is long: (a) Instructional innovation & Equitable outcomes, (b) organizational transformation & accountability, (c) learning transformation & equity, (d) modernization & strategic resource alignment, (e) communications executive officer, (f) senior human rights officer, (g) senior strategic advisor to the director, (h) senior legal counsel, (i) human rights & Indigenous affairs (j) equity, anti-oppression in early years. (k) special education & inclusion, (l) a superintendent for Indigenous education.
Without entering into the calculus personnel and material resources these people draw upon, and considering only their salaries and benefits, this is a considerable amount of money dedicated to DEI.
Superintendent level staff in a large board like TDSB will draw on a salary in the $200,000 range. The Director herself make $300,000 per annum. Why would they spend $60,000 on a self-styled anti-racism consultant?
The executors of the Bilkszto estate must be asking themselves it was worth Richard’s demise.