The Learning Process

Across the troubled communities of North-East Scarborough, the education system has established itself as the bulwark and vanguard in the fight for political correctness. The most troubled students, victims of entrenched racism, invisible white privilege, and the vestiges of African colonialism, act out through violence. It is not their fault. They need to be cherished and nutured and accomodated. Thus, the cycle of racism will end…

When you walk into one of the many high schools in Scarborough equipped to handle the gangbangers, it really looks much like the high schools that they were sent from. The same white paint, the cheery posters promoting black cultural awareness, and lockers. But there are no students in the halls, here. Unlike the troubled schools were gangbangers roam the halls, here they are in specially equipped classrooms. And a curious person, wondering at how the Toronto District School Board is reaching out to these troubled youth from oppressed cultures, certainly wants to know what the magic is that is being used to combat this social plague.

The first thing you notice is the carpet. Admittedly it is an institutional grade, but regular classes for regular students do not get carpet. There in the corner is a refrigerator, filled with snacks … juice and pop, bread and cold cuts. There are no desks, only a coffee table in front of a leather sofa. Here are the first secrets of the school board in its holy war against social dysfunction: There are only two gangbangers in each class, and each class is set up like a lounge.

The instructors only face their two gangbangers for a two hour shift. They give them the personal attention that has been missing elsewhere in their lives. They work through a work book, and hear uplifting stories about opportunities in engineering, science, and journalism, and listen to heroic tales in the struggle against racism: brave activists who complained and succeeded to get more and better handouts. The instructors only have two classes a day (that is four students in a day). The rest of the instructors time is spent in meetings, discussing progress, and planning strategy. Each gangbanger costs the education system a hundred thousand dollars a year for this valiant, yet sadly underfunded effort at reaching out to these troubled kids.

The other staff in these schools find these programs disturbing. The floor monitors are overwhelmed … the gangbangers do not have to follow a dress code (it would disturb what progress the instructors are making in reaching out) and frequently have fights in the stairways when rival gangs meet. The caretakers have to respond to biohazardous waste when gangbangers masturbate in the washrooms, pee on the floor, smear feces, or stink up the halls when they smoke dope. The academic leadership at these schools just shrug and mention all the progress they are making with these troubled youth … the system is working … just look at all the booklets and pieces of paper the gangbangers have made marks in. But everybody is making money … administration is top heavy, instructors are many, caretakers get overtime, and maintenance is always putting in new cameras or repairing some torched computer lab.

As for the gangbangers, they start younger each year, and there are more of them. This is because of cuts to social spending by Mike Harris, as well as entrenched racism, invisible white privilege, and the vestiges of African colonialism. One program brings elementary school at risk youth together to play basketball. Most of the kids make gang hand signals in the self-promotional photos taken and displayed so proudly in the school board display cases. Only a few million more dollars could save more children through the efforts of many more education professionals.

Today, as I write this, is a Friday, before a long weekend. As a reward, the instructors have let their troubled charges leave early. They have filled in their booklets and have achieved their daily goals. So, its off to the shopping mall in their gangbanger clothes. As for the instructors, well, they are off in their SUV’s to their farms in the country. Best to leave early to beat the traffic.

I, Fenris Badwulf, wrote this at both Mitchieville and DustMyBroom

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