In yet another effort to completely dumb down standards for its students, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) intends to “decolonize” assessment practices during the next school year.

A memo sent to staff by the interim associate director of student well-being and innovation, Andrew Gold, and centrally assigned principal. Denise De Paola, revealed the new practice to teachers.

In the memo – obtained by True North – the two claim that “decolonization” of student assessments, equity anti-oppression and anti-racism are “at the core” of student learning and achievement.

In the immortal words of education director Colleen Russell-Rawlins, a black activist who has spent considerable time this past year promoting segregated coaches and other special opportunities for black students only, exams are entirely passé.

Gold tells teachers that during the next school year, final exams “may be administered” but will be part of a collection of other forms of course-end evaluations.

“Final exams …(are) not meant to be the sole and/or predominant method of evaluation experienced by students,” he writes. 

Thep interim associate director suggests that “student engagement increases” through “authentic assessment” practices.

Gold asks educators with the board to use the “tenets of culturally responsive pedagogy and decolonization” to identify alternative ways to evaluate students beyond traditional exams.

The final 30% (of a final grade in any course), he says, should include evaluations of learning determined from “conversation, observation and product.”

He doesn’t define what product means, although I suspect it might include projects or essays.

Then again it may not. Maybe it will be an Instagram or Tik Tok post.

One does not have to be a rocket scientist to discern that Russell-Rawlins and her cabal of “de-colonialists” are using the tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in this latest edict (and so many others) – even if the actual term is not used.

CRT, a Marxist theory, posits that black students are oppressed by whites, the oppressors. CRT insists that students of colour do not have a level playing field because white privilege and racism is embedded in all of our cultural institutions.

What Russell-Williams and the “de-colonialists” on her senior executive team are suggesting with this is that the board’s black students need special treatment to perform adequately.

The edict is as insulting to students of colour as it is to white students and those from other minorities.

Russell-Williams and the board’s woke trustees have already approved a policy that will remove all entry requirements for the board’s specialized arts schools, sports and other programs. All students will have to do is express an interest in attending, whether they have any real talent or not.

It is bordering on obscene, in my view, that the board’s education director and her staff have so little faith in the ability of their students to work hard and achieve that they have to remove all standards and all commitment to objective grading and assessment.

It is the antithesis of success.

This path reminds me of the union mentality I’ve observed in the public sector where everyone gets paid the same no matter how hard they work and how productive they are.

What impetus will TDSB students have to learn if they know there’s no exam at the end of term, only observation by teachers – which strikes me as yet another recipe for social promotion.

How will TDSB students ever survive at university where final exams are three hours long?

It seems Russell-Rawlins and her woke cabal are determined to graduate students who can’t add, subtract and divide, can’t write or absorb basic concepts but who live in a Tik Tok and Instagram world where they appear far more special than they really are.

Hopefully the pendulum will start to swing the other way as parents realize how their school boards are failing students.

Meanwhile, it’s time to consider homeschooling.


  • 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.