Specialty arts and athletic schools with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) plan to undercut competency and merit-based entrance requirements in favour of a quota system based on random selection and “historically underserved” students.

The plan was revealed at a recent meeting of the TDSB’s governance committee during questioning by long-time midtown Toronto trustee Shelley Laskin. Board executive officer of finance Craig Snider confirmed there would be “targets” or “quotas” as to who will be granted entry into these highly respected arts and athletic schools.

Superintendent Lorraine Linton was asked whether 25% or 50% of the students accepted would be from underserved communities – numbers determined by TDSB’s own internal census.

“We haven’t (yet) established specific numbers,” Linton answered. 

The discussion pertained to a controversial plan that will drop all criteria to get into highly sought after arts, athletic and other speciality programs at TDSB schools. As of Sep. 2023, students will be picked based only on whether they express an interest in musical theatre, drama, dance, film, music and visual arts, as well as specialty sports programs.

Applicants will no longer be asked to submit marks, participate in entrance exams or even submit audition materials to show that they actually have a talent for any of the arts mentioned, or the discipline to pursue specialized fields of study.

For the high-performing athlete program, interested students may be asked to submit practice schedules and coach letters—with an emphasis on the word “may.”

The report to the committee explains that admissions to these schools need to be “reset” – code for “dumbed down” – to ensure that those who have not had access to private lessons or outside learning opportunities can still apply.

While the report indicates there will be a “random selection process” for the programs and schools, it adds that “priority access” will be given to students in “historically underserved” communities.

Based on the answers to Laskin’s questions, one can surmise that the selection process will be highly skewed to black and visible minority students.

The plan shows that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is alive and flourishing in the TDSB under the leadership of education director Colleen Russell Rawlins. Russell Rawlins introduced the same woke ideology to the Peel school board before leaving Peel to mess up Toronto schools a year ago.

CRT contends that “anti-black racism” is deeply embedded in all western institutions – that these institutions champion white dominance and create an uneven playing field for black people. White people are oppressors, and blacks oppressed.

It is clear from this program – and from a special basketball program restricted to black kids – that this Marxist-aligned ideology is permeating board policies and programs and that the TDSB’s weak trustees, desperate to be woke, are enabling this nonsense.

The basketball program is apartheid-level insanity. Starting May 5 and continuing until mid-June, only Grade 1-3 students who identify as black or racialized have been invited to be coached on basketball skills in the Swansea neighbourhood of Toronto. 

No white, Asian or any other kids need apply.

Talk about “reverse racism.”

Dumbing down the admission criteria to highly regarded arts and athletic programs does not bode well for the future of these respected specialty opportunities either.

What is a specialty program without special standards? 

Dressed in the guise of equity, Russell Rawlins and her bureaucrats are implying that kids from 

“underprivileged” communities – namely black and visible minorities – are so oppressed by those who get all the cherished spots that they require special treatment and the standards to be lowered to even make it into the programs.

One wonders whether Russell Rawlins or her officials ever watch America’s Got Talent. I’ve seen talented kids and adults of all ethnic backgrounds who come from impoverished and abusive homes.

None of them were given free entry into a specialized school program. Most had a dream and worked to make it come to fruition.

There is nothing the least bit progressive about quotas. Removing all competency-based standards and allocating special privileges to some kids and not others iis nothing but an exercise in mediocrity and the soft bigotry of low expectations.


  • Sue-Ann Levy

    A two-time investigative reporting award winner and nine-time winner of the Toronto Sun’s Readers Choice award for news writer, Sue-Ann Levy made her name for advocating the poor, the homeless, the elderly in long-term care and others without a voice and for fighting against the striking rise in anti-Semitism and the BDS movement across Canada.

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