Thursday, November 17, 2005

"White flight, big time." "We ran away from Markham because of multiculturalism."

Last September and October, the Toronto Star ran a series of articles about the problems faced by immigrants in the public school system. One of the articles discussed the impact white flight was having on Canadian public schools. It seems some of the white servants on the multiculturalism plantation are getting uppity, as in they're getting up and leaving:

York Region Superintendent Vicki Bismilla, who is in charge of equity issues for the board, has watched the ethnic transformations of whole schools, such as Armadale and Coppard Glen, in Markham.

More than 80 per cent of the student populations at the schools, built in what used to be mostly white neighbourhoods, now speak English as a second language.

Asked if that transformation is the result of immigration or white flight, Bismilla is unequivocal: "White flight, big time.''

[. . .]

In York Region, Vicki Bismilla says the board has had to launch a series of school-based workshops aimed at parents in areas with few immigrants, highlighting the need to make schools more inclusive.

Bismilla says she has talked to parents in the mostly white neighbourhoods of Stouffville, for instance, who do not mask their reasons for moving.

"In Stouffville,'' Bismilla says, "when we even try to talk about race relations, we've had people openly say to us: `We ran away from Markham because of multiculturalism. Don't come here and talk to us about multiculturalism.'

"Already we have people in burkas that are showing up in some of these schools and they are facing some really weird reactions,'' she says.