Destreaming for Educational Equity in Toronto District School Board


Hannah Nie
Public Relations Officer
Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC)
+1 (289) 408-8600

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2017

Destreaming for Educational Equity in Toronto District School Board

TORONTO, ONTARIO, FEBRUARY 23, 2017 — In efforts to ensure equitable opportunities for all students, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has proposed a three-year plan to phase out course streaming in Grades 9 and 10. While streamed courses are intended to cater to students of different academic levels and prepare them for various post-secondary pathways, research has shown that streaming causes educational inequities and limits student opportunity, especially in marginalized demographics.

Beginning in Grades 9 and 10, secondary school courses are categorized in various levels of academic vigour as Academic, Applied, or Essentials/Locally Developed, with Academic being the most academically advanced and Essentials being the least. Courses in later years are then streamed into University, College, or Workplace levels.

Studies from the TDSB have shown that course streams are highly indicative of post-secondary paths, with students from Applied and Essentials courses less likely to graduate and enroll in post-secondary school. Furthermore, research from York University and the TDSB itself shows that students in vulnerable racial and socioeconomic demographics are represented disproportionately in the Applied and Essentials streams. Streaming has been ineffective in meeting students’ individual learning needs; instead, it has exacerbated the “academic gap” between students and inhibited opportunities for improvement and success.

In reform of the current system, the TDSB has suggested phasing out streaming until later years of secondary school, stating plans to “support the majority of our students in academic level programming for Grades 9 and 10”. As an advocate for student empowerment and equity, the FCSS-FESC agrees with this effort to provide inclusive education and support for all students to realize their full potential.

The Federation of Canadian Secondary Students | Fédération des élèves du secondaire au Canada (FCSS-FESC) aims to deliver the student voice to education stakeholders, when it is often forgotten in daily discourse. We are a non-partisan, not-for-profit organisation that is led completely by youth. Together, we are the largest student alliance of its kind in Canada. Our programmes supplement public education with networking events, leadership opportunities, peer mentorship, and conferences. Our events are designed to guide Canadian youth of today and ensure their successful tomorrow, while working to improve education today.

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