If a satirical novel about civic corruption and greed, of the sort that Sinclair Lewis wrote a century ago, were to emerge today describing the actual goings-on at the Toronto District School Board, it would be dismissed as too absurd and far-fetched to be taken seriously.
Within the last two years, the Board had an Education Director resign after he was exposed as a plagiarist, the Chair of the Board's elected Trustees resigned in disgrace after a newspaper report made it clear a charity being run out of his home was receiving Board funds. A union widely seen as crooked and which was grossly overcharging the schools for services had its untendered contract renewed by the province's Liberal Party government and forced on the Board. That would be the same Ontario Liberal Party which received huge donations from that same union.
The current curriculum was signed into effect by a Provincial Education Minister who admitted she hadn't even read it. That Minister, Liz Sandals, doesn't think students need basic mathematics skills because cash registers can do those calculations for them.
The next curriculum which the Province wants to impose on the Board was widely condemned for introducing over-sexualized content to children at an inappropriately young age. That curriculum was shepherded in by a Deputy Education Minister who is currently facing charges of producing child pornography.
The Board has an "Equity Advisor" who is a spokesman for an anti-Semitic group and was a featured speaker at a conference promoting the Marxist ideology which caused the murder of tens of millions of people in the 20th Century.
The Board itself sponsored a racist so-called "Equity" conference in which a keynote speaker said the Board needs to focus more on race and should emphasize the collective over the individual. And after his speech, that speaker, Tim Wise, received a standing ovation from the approximately 200 teachers at the conference, almost all of whom were white.
There are current Board Trustees, who have been accused of abuse of expenses, who continue to excuse the Board's incompetence. Some new Trustee candidates think the answer to the systems problems is to get the Provincial government, which is teetering on bankruptcy, to pony up more tax dollars to the schools.
It should all be too absurd to be true. But these absurdities are the tragic reality going on at the Toronto District School Board. And it will continue until we do something about it.