Accountability Matters

Welcome to Accountability Matters, a blog dedicated to fostering accountability to and within African Nova Scotian communities.

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African Nova Scotian Learners - Baseline Data

It took an unusually long amount of time for me to get a copy of this slideshow.  It was presented at a conference open to community members, educators, and staff of organizations that serve African Nova Scotian Learners in November of 2014.  We were assured we didn't have to take out cell phones to capture the data, yet it was still hard to come by.

I don't post this because I buy into the narrative that our children are not capable of performing well.  I am in fact convinced that we need to set up alternative ways of measuring whether our children have the skills they need and the skills we value independent of the education system.  For the vast majority of African Nova Scotian students the public education system is all they have access to and we must therefore hold it accontable to addressing the disparities contained in this presentation.

 

Click the picture or here to access the link:

 

A.L.I./D.B.D.A.L.I. Naming Dispute UPDATE

Yesterday Justice Arthur LeBlanc released his decision regarding the A.L.I./D.B.D.A.L.I. naming dispute court case. I attended the oral arguments in May and my reflections can be found HERE. The complete decision can be found on the law courts website HERE.

The conclusion of the court was:

"In light of the court's finding of a reasonable apprehension of bias in this case, the Registrar is no longer fit to act. In addition, returning the case to the decision-maker would be pointless, because only one interpretation or solution is possible when the proper test is applied. Accordingly, I decline to remit the matter back to the Registrar. Instead, I will grant an order under Rule 7.11 (c) requiring the Registrar to direct DBDALI to change its name.

The judicial review application is allowed. The Registrar's decision is quashed on the basis of a reasonable apprehension of bias. This court orders the Registrar to direct DBDALI to change its name, with the change of name to be completed within 60 days of this decision."

 

So it appears that the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Africentric Learning Institute will have a new name within 60 days, but the obvious next question is what now?

What now in the face of deeply rooted divisions?

What now of provincial funding for either organization?

What now in terms of leadership?

What do we do now?

 

I say we turn the decision-making powers back over to the people. We do the work. We open the doors and anyone who wants can come have a seat at the table. We find balance between the valued perspectives of experienced educators and the equally valuable perspective of parents, students, and community members who are consumers and contributors to the system as well.

We find a way to re-establish trust, and we lean in with a fearlessness that actively rejects the lie that we, the Black or poor or Black and poor don't have the requisite intellect or insight to manage our own affairs.

We take up this opportunity to build something new and open and transparent. We establish a model in accountability to African Nova Scotians that demonstrates community involvement on every level is essential to meeting our communities' needs.

Youth councils with the ability to fund projects through a discretionary spending allotment. Quarterly community meetings with childcare. Ad hoc committees that regularly meet to discuss community needs AND assess the effectiveness of policies and programming. The possibilities are endless and these are just a few ideas I have, with thousands of African Nova Scotians out here just waiting to be consulted.

The contact information for the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Africentric Learning Institute (D.B.D.A.L.I.) and the Africentric Learning Institue of Nova Scotia (A.L.I.) are below. Call them up or write them an email, let them know what you think should happen next.

Delmore "Buddy" Daye Africentric Learning Institute
5539 Cornwallis Street, Halifax, NS, B3K 1B3
Telephone – (902) 407-3200 or 1-855-350-3200
Fax – (902) 407-3263
E-mail – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Africentric Learning Institute
Development Office
2085 Gottingen Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3K 3B2
Voice: 902-722-1388
Fax: 902-722-1395
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leave a comment or send me an email with your thoughts.  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To the future

As I look toward the future, it would be nice to see....

Youth Advisory Councils for every orgainzation with a mandate to serve African Nova Scotians.  Not just to incorporate the ideas of young people, but also to continually develop the leaders of tomorrow.  

Political action committees that look for and support the development of African Nova Scotian political candidates years before the next election.  Raising funds and awareness of candidates takes time.  There is no time like the present to start building the framework for the next African Nova Scotian political candidates.  

A re-emergence of community groups, not funded by the government that leverages the voice of community members against status quo.

Just some thoughts....

 

Raising Our Expectations, Our Voices, and Our Level of Commitment

People rise to expectations, and at times also sink to them. More than paying empty lip service to something as abstract and indistinct as potential, it seems important to focus on access to opportunities for meeting expectations. To say we have high expectations of our children, leaders, or ourselves, without actually challenging them and/or us to meet high expectations feels inauthentic.

Our capacity often expands when challenged, and the satisfaction of having persevered emboldens us to take on the next task. So my expectation is that I'll show up and act. Simple, but not without its barriers.

Completing the education survey below (and a conversation initiated by Lana MacLean) led me to write to the leaders of organizations that serve Black learners in Nova Scotia to inquire about opportunities to gather more data specifically on African Nova Scotians. Our voices must be heard during this review of the entire system.

https://www.ednet.ns.ca/educationreview/

A.L.I./D.B.D.A.L.I. Naming Dispute

To Begin:

Honestly....

 

At times I've thought to myself: what is the point of arguing over the name? It seems a waste of time, energy, and money.

 

I've considered whether autonomy and self-determination are really at risk. Questioned whether this is a conflict of personalities and egos, or something more?

 

Wondered how important the name of the institute is in the context of continued discrimination in education and the workforce? Should the community be mobilizing around this issue?

 

On Monday, May 5, 2014, I attended the Supreme Court hearing about the naming dispute to hear details firsthand. The following is intended to record the events of the day and put forth my own thoughts on the matter.  Please note that there are endnotes, which can be accessed by clicking the links within the document or by scrolling down.

 

Setting the scene:

This hearing took place at the Law Courts building, 1815 Upper Water Street, in court room 701i. 15-20 community members crowded onto two benches and a couple of extra chairs to hear the arguments of Sherry Conlon representing the Africentric Learning Institute of Nova Scotia (A.L.I.), Edward Gores representing the Registrar's office, and Lauren Grant representing the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Africentric Learning Institute (D.B.D.A.L.I.). The proceedings ran from around 9:45am – 3:45pm including breaks, and were presided over by Justice LeBlanc. [/block]

 

She said, he said, she said: argument summaries

 

Many arguments were madeiiand the court will decide two main things.

  1. Was the referenced decision reasonable given the law?

  2. Might a “reasonable” person perceive bias in this situation?

The second issue is mainly significant because if no bias is found, the issue is more likely to be referred back to the Registrar's office for resolution.

 

I've detailed the arguments in more depth in the endnotes. Ms. Conlon argued that the decision is both unreasonable and biased. Mr. Gores did not argue the reasonableness of the decision, but did argue that it was not biased and, if found unreasonable, should be sent back to the Registrar's office for resolution. Ms. Grant argued the decision is reasonable and unbiased.

 

Justice LeBlanc understandably was not in the position to render a decision at that time, but said he would render one as soon as possible after reading a bit more and considering the arguments.

 

So what....do I say?

 

  1. Nearly 20 years ago the BLAC report was released. A whole generation of children has gone through the education system. Where are we after a generation of efforts? This question remains paramount. It is impossible for me to say anything about anything else, before publicly asking individuals and organizations to publicly account for what they've spent the last 20 years doing. Call me naive, but I think the people who lead education organizations (and their employees) all sincerely care about the success of African Nova Scotian learners, but it is up to us, as individuals, staff, and members of these organizations to demand accountability.

 

  1. Back to the issue at hand....is this name disputeiii important? Yes and no. Yes because it frightens me to think that any organization or group of people would align themselves with the might of the government and consider that power differential sufficient to silence dissent. Institutions (public and private) have actively ignored and disengaged with African Nova Scotian communities for hundreds of years. It is always our responsibility to challenge such a stance. No because this fight feels rooted in the insulated experiences of well-educated elites, even as significant numbers of Black people remain constrained by racism and a lack of access to quality education. The gauge for how important this issue is has to be related in a tangible way to the lives of those most affected by inequality.

 

  1. I attended the hearing and wrote this piece because I believe public education is everyone's domain. Change seems likely only if everyone can engage in the fight, especially those previously disserviced by the system. The revolution will not be televised, but it also won't be scripted and a producer will not call you up and give you a role. We have to find a way to contribute; hold high expectations for ourselves, our children, and our leaders; and actively reject the lie that Black people lack intelligence, drive, or the unity necessary to better our communities.

 

Organize, act, assess, repeat.  

Please leave respectful comments and corrections in the comments section. 

 

Tina

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

i Court room 701 was really warm (above 24.5 degrees C for most of the morning, falling to around 23.5 degrees C later in the afternoon). The majority of the room was taken up by three rows of tables and chairs (the first row being occupied by Mr. Gores, the second by Ms. Conlon and her associate, and the third by Ms. Grant).

ii Ms. Conlon's Arguments:

1) The June 2013 Registrar's decision was unreasonable because the larger context was not considered, and the registrar had the legal responsibility of seeking out a context.

2) A “reasonable” person might perceive bias from the Registrar's office due to a change in the Registrar's position following a meeting with a staff member of the Department of Education.

3) If the decision was unreasonable and there was a “reasonable apprehension of bias”, then the remedy should be the court ordering D.B.D.A.L.I. to change its name, not the matter being referred back to the Registrar.

Mr. Gores – for the Registrar's office:

1) The law recognizes similar names may come about “advertently or otherwise”, and it is up to the Registrar to make decisions and follow the guidelines in the law, not the court.

2) The Registrar made her decision based on the facts she had at the time, and there is not sufficient evidence of bias since she was open-minded going into the meeting before allowing the name change, so if deemed unreasonable, the matter should be returned to the Registrar’s office for review.

Ms. Grant – for D.B.D.A.L.I.:

1) The Registrar acted reasonably and without bias.

2) The names are sufficiently different. Africentric Learning Institute is descriptive of the business and and the distinct parts of the names (“Delmore “Buddy” Daye” and “of Nova Scotia,” respectively) are sufficient to not deceive the public.

iii A simplistic timeline as it relates to the Registrar's decision is as follows....

2006 – A.L.I. tries to incorporate, but can't because another organization (the Africentric Learning Association) is registered

2008 – A.L.I. actually incorporates as Africentric Learning Institute of Nova Scotia after A.L.A. agrees to change its name and gives permission to A.L.I.

2012 – Dispute about the name arises.

Sept. 2012 Paul Ashe tries to change the name of A.L.I.

Oct. 2012 Paul Ashe registers the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute as a board member and the secretary of that organization. Later in the month Paul Ashe submits a request to add “Africentric” into the title of the institute, although the initial request had been rejected. After the name change request, the Registrar agrees to a meeting attended by Mr. Ashe and another unidentified person (purportedly Patrick Kakembo). The Registrar agrees to the name change.

2013 – The Registrar does not open a name dispute file and concludes that since 50% of the name in each organization is different, there is not a likelihood that the public will be deceived (the only relevant legal test).

A main contention between the various sides is whether the Registrar perceived Mr. Ashe to be acting as a private citizen, or as an employee of the Department of Education.