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Neil A. Rochelle

Greg, Of course you make some good points. My reaction was on gut instinct and I hope I made that clear. Anything that will help students learn and achieve at higher levels is worth investigating. While our systems of education and funding are different, I'm not sure I'm in favor of using public money to fund an experiment that flies in the face of so many years of fighting for equal access and resources. I'm not familiar with the funding structures in Canada or Toronto.

I have always believed that groups of students can and does make a difference with respect to their achievement. One example is that of students with special needs. While for years we segregated students with disabilities and for some with the most severe needs this may be appropriate, we have found that students with special needs are achieving at higher levels in the mainstream vs. a self-contained setting. Curriculum is modified rather than watered-down, students are motivated to keep up with their peers and not made to feel like a social outcast.

I full understand the point about cultural differences being lost in typical public schools. By the same token, I think that is something we could address. If the separate system was already in existence, I may be able to understand providing an alternative setting given the choice of parents. The fact that the concept has only been approved and that the curriculum has to be developed, I have to ask why current curriculum aren't looked at and efforts made to make them diversity friendly?

I will be patient before judging. First swallow is a hard one. I'll be watching and hope others will provide their perspective so we may all learn from this experience.

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