Calling the practice ‘systemic, racist’ and ‘discriminatory’ Education Minister Stephen Lecce confirmed Ontario will join the other provinces in eliminating “streaming” in the province’s high schools. Calls for the elimination of the practice, in which students must choose to pursue either an “academic” or “applied” track when they begin high school — has been shown to disproportionately affect Black and low-income students when it comes to graduation rates and the chance of going to a post-secondary institution.
A spokesperson for the minister said that the full plan to eliminate streaming will be rolled out shortly,
A 2017 report led by York University professor Carl James found that Black teens in the Greater Toronto Area were being streamed into applied course tracks at significantly higher rates than other students.
Fifty-three per cent of Black students were in academic programs as compared to 81 per cent of white and 80 per cent of other so-called racialized students, meaning those who are part of other visible minorities. Conversely, 39 per cent of Black students were enrolled in applied programs, compared to 18 per cent of other racialized groups and 16 per cent of white students.
Meanwhile, a 2015 report from the group People for Education found that students taking applied courses in Grade 9 were much less likely to go to university and that students from low-income groups were more likely to enrol in applied courses.
John Malloy, director of education at the TDSB — Canada’s largest school board — applauded the province’s decision in a series of tweets. He called the change “necessary and complex” and said that it will require “much support and accountability” to ensure success for students.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education also says it will implement a ban on suspensions for students in junior kindergarten to Grade 3, another practice that has been shown to disproportionately impact Black students.