Category Archives: GTA Education

Embarrassed to sing “O Canada”? It’s only a ”Pittance in Time”!

national Flag of Canada

national Flag of Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Toronto Catholic District School Board had to pass new guidelines, forcing students to “sing” O’Canada. I just listened to the news and heard students state that they will not sing “O Canada“, or that they were “embarrassed” to sing it. Also heard one say “I will not be singing it because its my right not to”, with a very disturbing tone. How did we get to this point? What happened to our patriotism? Do we care about Canada? It’s only a “Pittance in Time”, to those who fought and died so we could enjoy it. Just saying!

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Jack Layton is the ideal opposition leader

You can’t do your job as Leader of the Opposition. I don’t know what you’re doing running for Prime Minister. It’s a very unusual political situation when every voter knows even before the federal election that Canada’s next prime minister will be Stephen Harper. Like or loathe it, the Conservatives will be returned to power on October 14.

But two other important questions are far from decided – who will be Opposition leader and whether it will be a minority or majority government.

After last week’s debate and two years of Harper government one thing is very clear – the only real federal opposition in the House of Commons is the New Democratic Party. And the only real choice for Opposition leader is Jack Layton.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion is a smart, decent man. But Dion and the Liberals don’t stand up to Stephen Harper – they prop him up.

On 43 separate occasions in Parliament, Dion’s Liberals voted to keep Harper in power and accept his very conservative legislation.

By continually abstaining, the “Official Opposition” has abdicated its important role of serving the majority of Canadians who reject Conservative ideology.

But it wasn’t just fear of losing an election that led to the Liberals becoming Conservative Lite – they actually agree with Harper’s wrong-headed positions on many key political issues.

Dion and the Liberals support Harper’s massive $50 billion corporate tax cuts that reward companies which have eliminated more than 400,000 manufacturing and forest industry jobs since 2000.

And the Liberals and Conservatives want huge tax cuts despite the fact that Canada’s tax rates are already lower than many industrialized nations, including the United States, Germany, Italy and Japan.
And Canada also has a much lower Goods and Services Tax than most countries.

Dion and the Liberals joined with Conservatives to vote to extend till 2011 the deadly mission that sent brave Canadian troops into a hopeless situation in Afghanistan.

Dion and the Liberals say they want a “Green Shift” and carbon tax to protect the environment but oppose a proposed NDP moratorium on new Alberta tar sands oil projects – Canada’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Serving students in culturally clustered schools

I still think that this is a bad idea? There are other ways to solve social issues and problems. Excuses are unacceptable and only help to further alienate various groups in our city. However, if someone can provide me with a reason this a good idea, I am all ears. Andy MJ /a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”.


Educators debate need for same-culture role models amid reality of ‘segregated’ schools. When Canada’s largest school board votes tomorrow on whether to start an Africentric alternative school, there will be those, including Ontario’s premier, who oppose a school that clusters children by race.

Segregation, critics charge, has no place in our public schools.

Yet schools have long been segregated, naturally, by virtue of the colour-coded neighbourhoods in which they sit, says veteran urban planner Mohammad Qadeer of Queen’s University.

In Canada, he argues, this could be a good thing?

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Canadian Remembrance Day Video 2007

A Timely Video for Remembrance Day in Canada. Please take some time today to remember those who died for our freedom in Canada.

Fallen Soldiers’ Families to Observe Remembrance Day in Afghanistan
Relatives of fallen soldiers visit Kandahar base
Canadian soldiers approaching Nov. 11 as participants instead of onlookers

New Etobicoke arts school will join TDSB this fall

The Toronto District School Board will add a specialized middle school for the arts to its list of public institutions. The announcement comes at a time when the board is trying to sell or rent 100 surplus properties.

The board voted last week to open the new school in Etobicoke this September at a facility the TDSB vacated 20 years ago. The property is currently being rented by a private Montessori school.

Ejecting the current tenants from the property will cause the school board to lose money, when the middle school could easily be placed somewhere else, said Trustee Scott Harrison, a critic of the plan.

“I think we could find another facility — maybe somewhere in the same area — that is 50-60% enrollment and can be housed within existing space,” he said. “So in other words you don’t have to have another principle, secretary or caretaker in the system.”

Enrollment in public schools is dwindling and the board is finding it doesn’t have enough students to fill up their properties.

Over the years, the public school system has lost 30,000 students, leaving the board with 100 properties that are either vacant or leased. It costs about $40 million to maintain.


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Everything is proceeding as the Liberals has foreseen


Everything is proceeding as Dalton McGuinty had foreseen”. John Tory was supposed to lead Ontario‘s Progressive Conservatives to certain victory over the “supposed” dark side; however he led them instead to a resounding defeat. Emperor Dalton McGuinty became the province’s first Liberal leader in 70 years to claim a second straight majority government. Albeit, one has to wonder; did John Tory simply not stand a chance against the political dark elements of deception, manipulation and down right Liberal political experience and know how? The Liberal engine is experienced; they knew what the electorate was prepared to talk about and what they did not want to hear. Elections are not for issues because in reality we only like comfort and ease. We like to know that everything is alright and under control. Only an all encompassing “Provincial Empire” can achieve this stability in Ontario and we gladly allowed it. Progressive Conservatives, and others, in Ontario thought that John Tory would have brought ‘A New Hope’ to the “integral deficit” that now exists among politicians; however the imperial forces of the Liberals got their way.

As such, the seasoned Liberals (lets give our due to the Liberals – they know how to run a campaign, like it or not) knew what to do and perhaps, over-confident conservatives thought that they had the upper hand. But with a strong economy and positive outlook, I assure you, the Liberals were quite safe. It did not take much to “scare” Ontarians into voting for the status quo. Now, on radio and media outlets, they are talking about the “real” issues, that were never brought up during the election. Unfortunately, John Tory and the PC party left Ontarians defenseless to it and our journey to the “Liberal Side” was completed! “The Progressive Conservatives and their feeble skills was just no match for the power of the Liberal side of the force! Ontarians allowed our Emperor Dalton to use their own aggressive and hostile feelings to focus on the faith-based school issue; essentially allowing fear and trepidation flow freely. Dalton and the Liberals felt that fear and knew how to use it. You would think that Ontarians would have not allowed one issue to dominate the election, but it did. Our radio and media outlets participated in the mix that focused us all on that one issue. Now that fear, along with hate, has made ‘Emperor McGuinty’ more powerful then we could ever imagine; fulfilling the destiny of a second term.

So now, Ontarians, we selected another path. One that we think is certain, stable and safer, but is it? Dalton led a smart and clean campaign; showing himself on television, always telling Ontarians what he would do. He always said “we can do better” and “there is more work to be done”. Your compassion for him led you to vote overwhelmingly for the Liberals. And those of you who hated the faith-based school funding issue, allowed yourselves to be used by simply not showing up to vote. This will be our undoing and in the end we will pay the price (that’s called taxes, if you haven’t gotten it already…) for our lack of vision!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot
Toronto, Ontario

NEWS FLASH: The Imperial House of Commons will no longer be of any concern to Ontarians. We have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved elections permanently. No point anyway since only half of Ontarians bother to get out of there house and vote anyway. The last remnants of the “OldRepublic” of Ontario have been swept away. The regional Mayors, (David Miller and others) now have direct control over their territories, using the template of the “City of Toronto Act”. Fear will keep the locals in line. Hasn’t it always?

The Ontario Imperial  House of Commons

P.S. OKAY! I’m having little political fun with my love for Star Wars!

Ontario Christian school revealed as being fully funded

TORONTO – Although Premier Dalton McGuinty has repeatedly stated his opposition to supporting non-Catholic faith-based schools, his education ministry must feel differently, as it recently came to light that Eden High, described as an “alternative Christian high school” on its web site, is fully funded by the ministry. According to Niagara District School Board Superintendent Linda Kartasinski, St. Catharines’ Eden High is a “regular public school” with about 780 students of diverse faiths, “including Jews and Moslems.”

However, she acknowledged that whether there actually are Jewish and Moslem students attending is “hard to tell. We don’t ask questions. We accept students from all faiths. Nobody is excluded.”

She said that the Bible classes are generic and focus on character-building themes such as honesty, integrity and loyalty. During regular school hours, “you couldn’t tell the difference between Eden High and any public school,” she said. “It’s the Ontario-based curriculum.”

However, Craig Danielson, the school’s spiritual life advisor, confirmed that students in Grade 10 and up must attend morning chapel services before starting the school day and Grade 9 students must attend a Life Quest Bible Program. Religious activities, which are mandatory, take place outside school hours.

“It’s never been a huge issue [with students of other faiths],” he continued. “Once they enroll, they know. It’s not a boundary school. It’s a choice. It’s a multi-faith school. It used to be very Mennonite when it was private.”

(Eden High was originally a Mennonite Brethren high school and became ‘Christian alternative’ in 1988 when it was included in the public school board.)

“We like students to consider things outside their own comfort zone regarding spirituality and faith,” Danielson said.

The Spiritual Life Department is funded by donations from parents, businesses and corporations. There are no tuition costs.

Frank Dimant, executive vice president of B’nai Brith Canada, said, “”We now learn that McGuinty’s flawed, discriminatory policy of funding only Catholic schools, is itself being applied inconsistently, even as the government tells us that it has been rigorusly implemented. The recent example of Eden High says differently. It speaks to the reality that faith-based schools are operating here in Ontario and will continue to demand their full and equal rights as the law ought to provide. It speaks of a government that cannot even enforce its own policies consistently. It also underscores the inherent injustice of an educational system that purports to extend privileges to some faith-based communities while excluding others.”

Patricia MacNeil, senior media relations coordinator for the Ontario Ministry of Education, explained that Eden High, once a private religious school, was having problems with high tuition rates and low enrollment in the late ’80s and “asked the Lincoln Board [now the Niagara Board] to oversee and take on Eden High as a publicly funded school. It actually is a publicly funded school, not a private religious school, run by the publicly funded education board,” she said. “It offers religious studies outside of instructional hours. It [religious instruction] is not part of the curriculum…. The point is that the school was admitted by the public education board.”

Still, the school admits that religious instruction is mandatory and that Eden High is a faith-based school.

Asked why the McGuinty government is unwilling to discuss similar arrangements with other faith-based schools, which have expressed their goal to be included in the public education system – as well as a willingness to follow provincial educational guidelines and have the ministry oversee the curriculum – MacNeil said: “That’s a political question. I can only tell you what our policies and programs are. Those decisions are made at the political level, not the [education] ministry level.” Whether other religious schools are willing to work out these details to be included, that’s “political speculation.”

In discussions with religious school administrators, many claim they already follow ministry guidelines and the parent body is committed to the public side of education.

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A publicly funded Mennonite school in Ontario – Liberal Hypocrisy?

A public school in St. Catharines that for two decades has offered chapel services and Bible classes for its Mennonite students proves Dalton McGuinty’s arguments against funding religious schools are “nonsense,” according to the Progressive Conservatives. Eden High joined the public system in 1988 during the Liberal government of premier David Peterson.

So what does that have to do with the “funding proposal” on the table today?Mr. Van Soelen noted five current Cabinet ministers — including Greg Sorbara, the Finance Minister and Liberal campaign chairman — were members of Mr. Peterson’s caucus.

“They would have been at the Cabinet table. They must have believed in it at the time,”
We have a new Native spiritual school in Toronto with full funding, busing and snacks. Also, five Ukrainian Eastern Rite schools with full funding under 3 Catholic school boards; extra 30 min of instruction per day in Ukrainian language and heritage and prayers in an old Slavic language paid for by government heritage grants and or church/parents.

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Mixed Blessings: Split-grade Classes

Wondering what a split-grade means for your child?

Some readers may find it disturbing that when Gina Brak’s son, Jake, was entering grade three, she registered him in a combined senior kindergarten to grade-three class at the local public school. Voluntarily. The Belleville, Ont., mom figured it would boost Jake’s teamwork skills and independence if he shared a teacher with 26 other kids who’d celebrated anywhere from five to nine birthdays. “When I tell other parents about his class, they’re horrified,” she says. “They say, ‘How can he learn anything in there?!’”

But children in split-grade classes (also called combined or blended classrooms) do learn. And due to limited budgets and fluctuating enrolments, you’ll find these classrooms across the country. Research shows that compared to children in straight-grade classes, children in split-grades make the same gains academically — and do even better socially. Yet, some of us still regard them with the same enthusiasm as we do head lice.

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