Some classrooms in the TDSB registered 15 degrees celsius last week (to give you context, Toronto by-laws demand a minimum of 21 degrees celsius for tenants!). The state of many TDSB schools is appalling: cold classrooms; leaking roofs; washrooms with no doors or working locks; and no soap in washrooms are all pretty standard fare across TDSB schools. However, Minister of Education Liz Sandals claims that the dysfunction of the TDSB has not yet impacted students. From Fix Our Schools’ perspective, it has been impacting students and their teachers for years! The $3.5 Billion of outstanding repairs and maintenance that the TDSB has been allowed to accumulate under the watchful eye of this Provincial government impacts the safety, success and well-being of our children every single day.
Fix Our Schools applauds Margaret Wilson’s work and was pleased to see the Province take strong action in directing the TDSB to implement all of Ms. Wilson’s recommendations in short order. We are optimistic that Margaret Wilson’s report and Minister Sandals’ directions are the first step towards the Province providing meaningful, long-term intervention to ensure the safety, success and well-being of our children. Ms. Wilson’s report states that the culture of fear referred to in the 2103 Ernst and Young Audit is even more pervasive now, demonstrating that short-term interventions by the Province have done nothing to improve the situation at the TDSB.
The fact that Minister Sandals does not see how students have already been impacted is extremely worrisome and may indicate that Margaret Wilson’s mandate was too narrow. Ms. Wilson’s report provides great insight into the top-down view of the TDSB but does not include a view of the situation from the ground-up – from a student’s perspective.