Streaming high school students, the process of deciding the level of study they pursue with their perceived abilities and life after high school in mind is firmly back in Ontario. More precisely, it never really left. Children from lower income families are still pushed toward applied programs and their better off classmates towards university preparation according to a new report. The idea that schools in higher income areas simply get more extras and see their students go further isn’t new at all. In the 1980s streaming students became quite controversial and the link between income and educational achievement has been the subject of study for decades all over the developed world. Ontario is supposed to be the kind of jurisdiction that takes steps to ameliorate the worst effects of streaming. It does, just not enough it would seem. You can see how streaming probably sows the seeds of deeper inequality. The lawyer’s son becomes a lawyer kind of thing. Add in the high costs of a post secondary education and streaming begins to seem even more problematic when you consider that ability, in say mathematics or language skills, is pretty evenly distributed. Anything that closes down options based upon where a child or youth started out has to be viewed as socially harmful. You can put streaming on that list.
The trouble with course choices in Ontario high schools
People for Education with link to full report
“Streaming” slips back into high schools: higher ratio of low income teens in applied courses called “problematic”
The Toronto Star was given an exclusive on the the People for Education Report and produced a good feature article accompanied by a P4E map for Toronto
image: child wearing dunce cap in 1906, Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons