TPA NEWS RELEASETHE Thorncliffe Park Parents Association (TPA) regrets that there have been some job losses reported within our neighborhood schools (Thorncliffe Park Public School and Valley Park Middle School). Unfortunately, parents, students and teachers are equally the victims of the Premier's arrogant stand.
Neither the Ontario Minister of Education nor the Ontario Premier is serious about listening to the concerns of parents. Look at the terrible and divisive atmosphere that our public education system is experiencing under the leadership of Minister Liz Sandals. Everyone has suffered from the Ontario government’s dictatorial approach including the cutting of school support staff. We suspect job losses have occurred in other Ontario schools, owing to the unpopularity of Premier Wynne’s controversial sex-ed, and if that is the case, the government should disclose it. We are afraid that more job cuts will follow, if parental rights are not fully respected.
We know that many parents who are sending their children to the public schools are not happy with the radical sex curriculum. They are seriously looking for alternatives. We have been asked by a lot of parents to open a private school in our community so they can take their children out of the public school system, in this case they will lose hundreds of more students.
Parents are also concerned over declining academic results in public school system, that despite the hard work of students, our school is ranked 1042 out of 1300 schools. The school curriculum should focus on improving math and literacy skills, instead of trying to undermine the children’s faith and cultural values.There are about 300 students that have been withdrawn from regular programming of 4 schools in the Thorncliffe Park/Flemingdon Park neighbourhood (including aroupd 120 from Thorncliffe Park Public School). The number of parents who have pulled their children from public schools across Ontario is, of course, much higher. Unfortunately, parents are losing trust in the Public School System. We have 5 private schools in our neighbourhood and all of them are overcrowded and have no vacancy left. Some of the newly opened private schools in other neighbourhoods had their vacancies filled in only 2 days which reflects that it’s not just happening in Thorncliffe.
Many parents in our area schools who have decided to keep their children in Public Schools remain deeply distressed about the Liberal curriculum, but feel handcuffed, with no other option, because they cannot afford private school tuitions, and do not have time to homeschool. However we have requested that those parents remain vigilant and to complain to the Human Rights Commission if any teaching at their children’s school should disrespect the deeply held beliefs and values they try to instill at home.
Many parents find it difficult to afford private school tuition fees, so they have been forced to save, and sometimes doing so by skipping meals and other necessities such as shoes and warm clothes. Some private schools are being very cooperative and have accepted students whose parents cannot afford to pay their tuition fees. But the total cost of education for every child should be the province’s responsibility.
Parents feel that the Ontario government is conspiring against their family when it forces hundreds and thousands of students to leave the public school system and try to find other alternatives. The Wynne Liberals may view this as a positive development, allowing them to reduce government expenses. However, parents rightfully feel cheated of their tax dollars. Fairness dictates that the Ontario government should give a $10,000 voucher per child, annually, to those families who have been forced to leave the public school system on account of the radical sex curriculum.
The absence of a fair, voucher system for excluded families can even affect the quality of education in private schools, because the school may not otherwise be able to hire the most qualified teachers, nor have the proper facilities for the students. Children need enough space to play and for their physical activities. Why is the government forcing students out of the public system, while at the same time, refusing to refund the tax money their parents already paid in? Besides being patently unfair, the government risks setting up a second class education system for some children, within a first world country. Give the parents their money back and let them have true choice in education.
Due to the fact that the Ontario government was not listening to parents, TPA arranged the temporary school in the park at the start of the school year. The purpose of conducting our classes in the park for the first month of school was to draw public attention. Our parents want their children to be part of the mainstream educational system. We don’t want to send our children to private schools. We wish to remain in a public school system that is willing to serve the needs of all families. But unfortunately the Ontario government and its Premier don’t care. A civilized nation can't afford to exclude one single child from a sound public education, let alone thousands of children.
The Principal of Thorncliffe Park Public School is basically misleading the parents and the media. His statement to parents that they can opt-out from the sex curriculum and that the content will not taught before spring 2016 are not accurate. He has been spreading false allegations against families who oppose the curriculum, while at the same time, accusing them of spreading false information. Principal Crane has concocted wild accusations that these parents believe their children will be undressed in class, and will touch each others’ private parts. We do not believe any parent has ever said such a ridiculous thing. Rather, the Principal appears to be fabricating these stories in order to undermine the legitimate concerns of parents regarding age-inappropriateness, being overly graphic and the influence of Benjamin Levin, the confessed child sexual predator who oversaw the writing of this curriculum.
Principal Crane also repeated multiple times in the media, that the protesting parents are bullying other parents who wanted to send their children to the school. He has been echoing the Premier’s party line that these parents are somehow driven by “homophobic” motivations. He has also claimed that the protesting parents are against the teachers and school staff. All of this is untrue. It has been also mentioned, at several times, that parents do respect teachers and they entrust them with their children, but their position is against the curriculum and the Ontario government’s stubborn stance.
We have also contacted the Police department and also requested Principal to disclose the name of culprit who sprayed graffiti on the school, because we do not believe it was a Thorncliffe parent. Are they refusing to release surveillance video, in order to be able to continue smearing parents who oppose the curriculum?
The Thorncliffe Park Parent Association couldn’t get any response from Principal Crane, after trying to reach him more than once, to arrange a meeting to correct his misrepresentation about the reasons for our opposition to the curriculum, and to explain once and for all that we are not against any school staff. However, in his media interview, he says that he cannot reach the parents who are opposing the curriculum: “I can't reach them” as in this article:
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/ontario-sex-ed-protest-unlike-142528855.html ). However, he has contradicted himself at other times, such as an article which quotes him referencing the Thorncliffe Parent Association as follows: “The association has no official standing with the school, and Crane has said he does not negotiate or meet with them.” ( http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2015/10/08/premier-visits-school-at-centre-of-sex-ed-controversy.html).
The parental protests against the sex curriculum at Thorncliffe Park Public School are, in different ways, also occurring across many other schools within the province of Ontario. The Ministry of Education should be concerned about the unrest because it’s the direct fallout of implementing a curriculum without a genuine parental consultation, and of disrespecting their inherent rights as primary educators of their children.
The government kept claiming that they consulted with 4000 parents across the province. What happened is that they asked the school principals to forward their survey to one parent only, and mainly the chair of the school council. What the ministry didn’t announce is how many parents completed their “consulting” survey, and how many “agreed” or “disagreed” with the curriculum, which was not released at the time of sending out the survey that contained generic and vague questions.
Parents believe that they should be viewed and considered as main stakeholders in the public education system and as tax payers, they should be clearly consulted before any major change like the case of this curriculum. About 200,000 parents have demanded the complete repeal of the newly introduced Sex-Ed curriculum. The Ontario government should focus on improving the quality of education and our public school system instead of wasting tax payers’ money in useless ads to promote this curriculum, which is opposed by hundreds of thousands of parents.
Our demand is crystal clear that Ministry should put a hold on all controversial elements in Health and Physical education and stop social engineering of innocent kids.