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: Odyssey For Equality

Odyssey for Equality – Part 23

My Odyssey for Equality in Education

Episode 23

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My first stop on my western tour was in north-western Ontario. I met with Jeannie McMaster, a literacy consultant who is recently retired from the Kenora District School Board. Jeannie is a very dynamic and dedicated professional who is working with the aboriginal community to help underachieving children to succeed in school. She is also embarking on a trip to Australia where she will consult with local educators.

I had an opportunity to share my information and materials with her. She will be sharing this with the director and superintendents in the Kenora DSB, leaders in the aboriginal community and educators in Australia.

Later in the day I arrived in Winnipeg where I have a presentation at the Sir William Stevenson Branch of the public library on Wednesday evening, July 10 at 7:00 pm. This is sponsored by the Equitable Child Maintenance & Access Society.

Dr. James S. Brown

Odyssey for Equality – Part 22

My Odyssey for Equality in Education

Episode 22

The Odyssey for Equality has arrived in Thunder Bay. I found it chilling to see the Terry Fox statue on the north side of the highway, marking the spot where he was forced to abandon his Marathon of Hope. At that time, Terry was a cancer survivor who was running across Canada in an effort to raise money for cancer research, and also to raise public awareness about the effects of that horrible disease.

Riding in my van and camping in my trailer, I am not trying to compare what I am doing to what Terry Fox did. But it is interesting to note that I am a cancer survivor who was motivated by my survival to embark on my Odyssey for Equality in an effort to raise public awareness about the long-term damage being done to many boys through their unequal treatment in school. It is tragic that some of the people who could do a great deal more to deal with the issue of boys’ underachievement in school appear to be unwilling to consider solutions other than their own. Hopefully, raising public awareness about the problem, its causes, consequences and solutions will motivate parents to take action to help their sons to achieve to the maximum of their potential.

I am no Terry Fox, but I am on my own mission to try, in any way that I can, to help boys who are being disadvantaged by the education system.

I think that is what being a survivor is all about.

Dr. James S. Brown

Odyssey for Equality – Part 16

Odyssey for Equality in Education

Episode 16

 I had an opportunity to meet with Roger Lawlor. Roger is the former Director of Education, recently retired, of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. He has always been one of the educational leaders that have been committed to a holistic approach to education. Under his leadership, the Waterloo CDSB was one of the best school boards in terms of meeting the needs of individual students.

Roger and I had lunch, relived some old times, and shared information. He put me in contact with Bruce Rodrigues, the Director of the Toronto CDSB who will be the new CEO at the Ontario Education Quality Assessment Office as of August 1st. This is extremely significant for the whole issue of equality in education, as many changes are needed in the approach currently being used to evaluate educational outcomes in Ontario. At the present time, the EQAO testing is proving to be somewhat harmful for some children, especially those with late in the year birthdates and many boys. Having been introduced to Bruce Rodrigues is thus very significant for me and the work I am doing on behalf of equality in education.

Thank you, Roger Lawlor.

Dr. James S. Brown

Odyssey for Equality – Part 17

Odyssey for Equality in Education

Episode 17

The Odyssey recently brought me into contact with Rev. Denis Campbell, who is the family ministries director at Morningstar Christian Fellowship in Scarborough, Ontario, and a Baptist minister. We discussed the difficulties that boys, especially black boys, are experiencing in school and in the broader society. We agreed that the difficulty in getting the school system to listen to “outsiders” that have new information is not surprising in view of how hard it is to get any large organization to change. The system’s existing culture serves to prevent change.

Meanwhile, Denis is a very positive person, so he was able to point to the reality that the lack of responsiveness on the part of the education system will eventually have the effect of forcing families to reassume some of the responsibility for their sons’ welfare that they have been willing to delegate to the school. Probably, this is a good thing. Denis assured me that I was on the right track by focusing my attention on helping parents and families rather than expecting any significant changes in the school system.

The Odyssey will be heading west in July, and it includes eight speaking engagements that will undoubtedly be of interest to parents and families.

Watch for it in Winnipeg on July 10.

 Dr. James S. Brown

Odyssey for Equality – Part 18

Odyssey for Equality in Education

Episode 18

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I have served as a member of the School Council at Holy Family Catholic School in Beaverton, Ontario for the past four years. During that time I have worked with the administration, parents and teachers to develop plans to help children who are underachieving. Most of these, of course, are boys.

Recently I met with the principal, vice-principal and other members of the school council to discuss both the work I am doing to help young boys to achieve to the maximum of their potential and my Odyssey for Equality. As a result, they will be distributing the packages that I have developed for parents of pre-school boys. They will also have me speak to these parents at a parents’ evening in September. This will be done in conjunction with several other schools in Durham region.

There are now four schools that will be working with the parents of pre-school boys to make use of what the educational research tells us about what we can do to raise the boys’ reading readiness level before they arrive at school. This should result in long term gains for these boys. This is the goal of the Odyssey for Equality.

The members of the School Council offered me their best wishes and support for success on my Odyssey for Equality.

Dr. James S Brown