How Does the School Board Become Super Bob?
- TDSB infers students' family incomes by illegal use of personal privacy information.
- TDSB officers make an ungrounded conjecture about students' extracurricular activities, trespassing into their individual autonomy spheres.
- TDSB officers have been making policies based on the mixture of the illegal use and the ungrounded conjecture, in the name of mega MEGA.
- Any such policies, in particular any to "rob" students' equal opportunities to competitive programming, must be resolutely declined, resisted, and overturned if approved.
- FREEDOM of Ontario will provide a template of the Personal Privacy Information Notice at a later time.
This post is to provide the information, and the citations might not be properly given. All the credits are attributed to the original sources. It is written to the best of the contributors' knowledge and memory, which might not be fully accurate.
This is one of a series of accompanying explanatory posts for the FREEDOM Declaration of Ontario and the FREEDOM of Ontario's Heads-up Message to Ontario Citizens and Residents, as listed in the latter's Appendix.
Bob is the Super (Superintendent) of the apartment building T.D. He has access to the keys to all the units. When tenants are away from home, he trespasses into all the units without in-advance notices or authorizations, peeks at the properties inside the units, and concludes that not all the tenant families are equally wealthy. Super Bob then publicly announces that properties in all the units must be redistributed for the mega ideology of making "equity" great again (mega MEGA).
As we all know: This mega MEGA is not really for "equity," but an intention to rob; And the trespasses and peeks on which the announcement is made, the announcement itself, and the potential action of redistribution are all illegal.
When explaining the reasons or rationale to make the changes, including "interest"-based random selection recently known to the public, to admissions into specialized schools and programs, the TDSB has repeatedly referred to the income/wealth barrier:
- Citing an assertion "It [selecting pupils on the basis of academic achievement] also increases the link between socio-economic status and performance …" (Page 5 of the proposed Student Interest Programs Policy, hereinafter called the "Policy," retrieved May 19, 2022; Emphasis added)
- "financial constraints." (Russell Rawlins, 2022)
- "The TDSB said a decade of data has “consistently” shown these specialty schools and programs disproportionally serve students from parents with middle to higher incomes." (Cohen, 2022; Emphasis added)
- "Since 2010, research has shown that students in specialty programs and schools disproportionately come from families with two-parent structures and higher incomes." (Teotonio, 2022; Emphasis added)
For the general public, this sounds pretty puzzling: How does the School Board know about students' family incomes? Apparently no students or parents report their family incomes to schools, not only because they are personal privacy information that is not needed in schooling, but also because not reporting them is just so natural, concerning the independence and the dignity, for most families, in particular for students and parents with "low" family incomes.
Let's see what "data" and "research," as reported in the news referenced above, may show students' family incomes.
After non-trivial online digging, we have located two sources:
- TDSB research report Programs of Choice in the TDSB: Characteristics of Students in French Immersion, Alternative Schools, and Other Specialized Schools and Programs (retrieved: May 7, 2022) by Erhan Sinay, Research Coordinator, June 2010. Footnote 14 in Page 50 (Page 60 of the PDF file) states: "Student income was approximated by using the average family income of the neighbourhood of student residence, according to the 2006 national census." (Emphasis added)
- TDSB The 2020 Learning Opportunities Index: Questions and Answers (retrieved: May 19, 2022; hereinafter called the "2020 LOI"). In Page 4 (Page 3 of the PDF file) it states: "For income, the postal code of each student is linked by Statistics Canada to tax returns of all families with school-aged children living in that postal code." (Emphasis added)
The so-called "Learning Opportunities Index" reports have been published in 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2020, once every three years.
It is crystal clear that the TDSB research teams have been using students' (and their families') address information to infer their incomes, since as early as 2010.
In Page 4 of the 2020 LOI (Page 3 of the PDF file), the TDSB research team states: "We are able to obtain postal code data for each student from our School Information Systems (SIS); however, some variables such as income are appropriately protected by privacy legislation and cannot be collected." (Emphasis added)
There is no doubt that the TDSB keeps quite a large amount of personal privacy information of students and their families, including but not limited to address information. The question is: Can the TDSB use such information, in the manners shown in the "research" or policy-makings?
Use of any personal information kept in a school board, is governed by the Ontario Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the "MFIPPA"), specifically, as of May 19, 2022, its Section 31 "Use of personal information," which reads:
Use of personal information
31 An institution shall not use personal information in its custody or under its control except,
(a) if the person to whom the information relates has identified that information in particular and consented to its use;
(b) for the purpose for which it was obtained or compiled or for a consistent purpose; or
(c) for a purpose for which the information may be disclosed to the institution under section 32 or under section 42 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56, s. 31.
(c) would apply if the information were disclosed to the School Board by another institution, and then does not apply here.
(a) apparently does not apply, because absolutely no students or parents have ever "consented to its use" in the shown manners.
For (b), absolutely no students or parents have ever been notified of "the purpose [of the 'research'] for which it was obtained or compiled;" The MFIPPA, as of May 19, 2022, specifically defines "consistent purpose" in Section 33, verbatim:
33 The purpose of a use or disclosure of personal information that has been collected directly from the individual to whom the information relates is a consistent purpose under clauses 31 (b) and 32 (c) only if the individual might reasonably have expected such a use or disclosure. R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56, s. 33. (Emphasis added)
Then, "consistent purpose" does not apply here either: When we give the addresses information to a school (and then the School Board), we only expect it to be used, mainly, for two purposes:
- To show the residency eligibility for school attendance (which may be in or out of the home attendance area); and,
- Possibly for correspondence, communications, or notifications in case of emergency, etc.,
But definitely not for "research," "data compilation," or any such, in particular, absolutely not for any "research" or "data" based on which admission policies are being made or changed in the way the TDSB is doing, which policies or policy changes are not only controversial and unauthorized by the public, but also more than likely against the wills of most students and parents.
Therefore, (b) does not apply either.
It is now crystal clear that the TDSB has been illegally using personal privacy information, including but not limited to address information, of students and their families, for over a decade! And any "data," "research," "findings", "policies," etc., derived from the illegal use, are for sure illegal too – when we deposit money into a bank, we do not expect the bank would use the money for its own purposes ("investment," "research," "data aggregation," "data mining," etc.) without our written consent; in particular, absolutely not for mega MEGA.
For the same reason, no school board may use any other personal privacy information, including but not limited to racial information, for any purpose that is not disclosed to students or parents and for which no consents of the use of the information are given.
Note: The Ontario Anti-Racism Act, 2017 (the "ARA") with its accompanying Data Standards governs a specific purpose and procedure where racial information may be collected and used, with no conflict to the MFIPPA. The ARA and its Data Standards themselves are alarming, as we will elaborate on at a later time after conducting more research and investigation.
Other issues have been exposed as well during the TDSB policy-making.
Specifically, the TDSB and its officer(s) claim:
- "[Some] students … have not had access to private lessons or outside learning opportunities beyond the expectations of our elementary curriculum[; And some students have had]." (Page 6 of the Policy);
- "Notably, the application process has long-advantaged students who have access to previous formal training in specific disciplines." (Russell Rawlins, 2022)
First, apparently these claims are fully ungrounded: To the best of the public's knowledge, no Ontario public schools, school boards, or researchers have done any "research" or shown any "data" about "access to private lessons or outside learning opportunities" or "access to previous formal training in specific disciplines."
Second, as remarked for the section Freedom of autonomy in the FREEDOM Declaration of Ontario, extracurricular activities fully fall into the sphere of an individual's autonomy (and liberty), and shall never be considered when a school-board-wide public educational policy is made regarding admissions to any schools or educational programs, even though a particular school or program's consideration of such extracurricular activities, which may show applicants' devotions or interests in the subject(s) or discipline(s), shall be generally permissible. These claims clearly and unequivocally show that some TDSB officers have crossed the line of their public duties, and have unscrupulously stretched their hands into students' autonomous (and privacy) dimensions – whatever students do out of school, as long as not illegal, it is none of their business.
Some officers in the TDSB have been making policies based on the mixture of the illegal use of students and their families' personal privacy information and the ungrounded conjecture about students' extracurricular activities. Under their manipulation, the School Board has become Super Bob and wants to "rob" students' equal opportunities to access specialized schools and programs via open, fair, transparent competitions for admissions based on merit or capacity, in the name of MEGA, a mega ideology with which the TDSB officers have been obsessed for years without any objective and scientific grounds.
Any policies out of the illegal use of personal privacy information must be resolutely declined, resisted, and overturned in case approved by any school board's trustees.
FREEDOM of Ontario will be providing at a later time a template of the Personal Privacy Information Notice, for the public, in particular for students and their families in Ontario specialized schools and programs, to stop, and reverse if applicable, any school board' illegal use of personal privacy information. Such notices, when submitted to a school board by a significant portion of students and families, at least may prevent the school board from making any further illegal use and from racially rigging public education in the future.
All last accessed: May 18, 2022.
- Russell Rawlins, C. (2022, May 6). Removing barriers behind changes to TDSB specialty school enrolment.
- Cohen, B. (2022, May 3). TDSB seeks end to auditions, entrance exams for specialty high school programs.
- Teotonio, I. (2022, May 7). TDSB’s proposed overhaul of specialty high school programs leaves some parents ‘frustrated’.