Letters to the Editor: ‘Pioneer’ school not working for today’s TDSB students

A Grade 8 student writes in to tell Beach Metro News that the Toronto District School Board's 'pioneer' approach of merging several grades into one class is not working.

In Grade 3, it was tradition for every class to make a pilgrimage to Pioneer Village or Century School House. There, we would learn about how in those early days, all the kids in the town got their education packed into a single classroom.

Well, it seems like the 1800s are back in fashion now.

My name is Alia Dunn. I’m one of the 247,000 students of the Toronto District School Board. I am in Grade 8. My experience in the TDSB has become extremely difficult and I’m hoping to share my story and to shed light onto the neglect that the board and Ministry of Education shows students today.

This year was going very well until I received the news that my class, a Grade 7-8 split, was integrating more Grade 7s and also adding Grade 6s to my class.

This was very upsetting to me because, from the start, I knew that it would be a huge struggle to get a proper education when my teacher is teaching three grades of students in one class.

This is a setback for me and many other students because we will not be getting the education that we need for our levels.

Imagine how we Grade 8 students are supposed to be taught at our level when our teacher is constantly having to step back to deal with kids two years behind us.

Much of the time we find ourselves doing work we first did two years ago – it’s an education Groundhog Day.

I reached out to the trustee of my area to try and make the TDSB aware as they are ignoring all my other attempts to contact them through social media platforms. My emails were downplayed and I was treated as if my opinion wasn’t valid and I had no understanding of the situation. It seems the trustees are doing nothing to try and support students in these situations.

There is a huge problem with budgeting for teachers from the provincial government which is one of the main reasons students are being disregarded.

The lack of French teachers is affecting thousands of our kids’ futures.

The education system is seriously underfunded and not enough attention is paid to the well being of students.

We should treat this callous disregard for our futures as a five-alarm fire for the future economy of Ontario.

I believe the TDSB and Ministry of Education have the responsibility to prioritize the learning and well being of their students.

If your kids are experiencing similar issues, please make your feelings known to your TDSB trustees or reach out on Twitter or other social media. We’ve found that 19th century education is fun for a day out, but Toronto kids are being forced to live it as our reality.

Alia Dunn

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