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Chris Spence, the Toronto District School Board's new education director.

Peter Power

Chris Spence, the Toronto District School Board's new education director, is calling for an all-male school and more "boy-friendly" classrooms to address male underachievement.

Boys' disengagement at school not only leads to poor grades and unproductive lives, but also can lead to the kind of violence Toronto schools have struggled to control in recent years, Dr. Spence says.

The former CFL player presented a sweeping vision document to a board committee Tuesday night and takes his proposal to the full board next week.

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His document also calls for more parental engagement in education, "full-service schools" with facilities to support students' families, better digital technology in classrooms, green-energy initiatives and a renewed effort to stem losses of 4,000 students a year by hiring a marketing director.

But his proposal for a single-sex school has attracted the most attention.

"The real objective is to cast a critical eye on how we reach and teach our boys," said Dr. Spence, whose 2008 book, The Joys of Teaching Boys, makes the case that boys learn differently from girls and have suffered under a "unisex model for child rearing and teaching."

You can replay the online discussion with Chris Spence, below.

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