Holy crap there was a lot of media in the past two days on the Toronto District School Board director of education Chris Spence's musings about an all-boys' school within his board. Even the special interests are jumping in-- the Society for Quality Education blasted its contacts by e-mail today with its reaction (positive) and I'm expecting others who run the spectrum will be chiming in as well.
Is this proposal, which would entirely segregate the school based on boys only and not just boys' only classes or specific grades / programs, any different from the afro-centric school that's already open within the TDSB?
Will it address the "achievement gap" between boys and girls in the public education system?
The data is there to prove it does exist and that boys have not handled the changes in the way reading, writing and math are taught as well as the fairer sex. The success rates for boys do increase, but not as high or as dramatically as those for girls increase.
There have been some programs at public schools (CBC's The National went back to a graduate of one in York Region, CBC featured a Hamilton one in a six o'clock newscast), but this would the first where the entire facility is for boys only.
Is this up there with former minister Gerard Kennedy's musings, supported by Ontario College of Teachers content, that boys would do better if they had more men as teachers? Regardless of his feelings, the split between the genders in teaching hasn't changed since he said it.
It's a concept worth investigating.
The danger is creating a board with too many "alternate" schools. Ottawa-Carleton got into this trouble a few years ago when a budget facilitator recommended cutting down on the number of magnet-type school locations and allowing for the programs parents were choosing to exist in smaller groupings across a larger number of sites. That board was seen to be spending too much to bus students from every part of the city to every other part of the city because Johnny wanted French immersion while Jane wanted an arts-focus. The facilitators recommended looking at offering as many programs as feasible in the community school to keep kids from being shipped all over the place based on programs.
Of course the way to simplify that quandry, if you go "school choice" all the way as already exists in some parts of the country, is to take away transportation. Parents can choose whatever school they want for their kids, but they find a way to get their darlings to the front door and home every day.