Monday, November 2, 2009

MacDonald on T.O. reviews

TorSun's Moira MacDonald weighs in on the Toronto District School Board reviews today, with a cleverly titled opinion piece. She provides several hypotheses on what is behind the selection of the 25 schools and eight review committees now struck at the board.
Why were these eight areas -- encompassing 35 schools -- chosen for the first round? Number one: trustee buy-in.
"The (trustees) around the table were the people who were willing to engage in the process," trustee Howard Goodman told me, adding this would not have included trustees "philosophically deadset against closing schools." The old city of Toronto is noticeably underrepresented while outer reaches of the city -- like Scarborough -- are overrepresented. Also absent are schools with some of the lowest enrolments going.
Reason number two for why these schools first: Community interest.
Scarborough trustee Scott Harrison told me Cedarbrook Junior Public School was a school "I was pushing (for a review) because the community wanted it." Cedarbrook only goes up to Grade 6 and is just over half full. Parents would like to see their children staying at the school until Grade 8. That cuts down on the number of school changes kids have to make during their school career. It also adds more kids, good if enrolment is falling -- and is the model the TDSB wants across the city.
In addition, MacDonald mentions bums-in-seats / enrolment as well as facility reasons in the final graphs of the column.
Perhaps my comment on an earlier post will be proven wrong and we'll see some enlightened reporting, opinion and analysis from T.O. media on the reviews as they get underway and chew through the process. MacDonald's piece today certainly is a nice addition.