Weston students streamed into dead end pathways

York South–Weston students are being streamed into high-school programs that limit their life opportunities, according to Social Planning Toronto.

The province formally did away with streamed high-school programming many years ago, but much of the old system persists, SPT says.  The results are profound: students choose “academic” or “applied” courses in grade 8 that will affect their careers, and earnings, for decades—and they do so without knowing the difference.

Further, “low-income and marginalized students [are] over-represented in lower level courses”.

Map of applied courses
A single map in the report tells a sad and scary story: students in the poorer horseshoe around wealthy old-Toronto take more applied courses.

Applied courses are an academic lobster trap: easy to get into, but hard to get out of. Students are asked to take make-up courses in the summer or after school to make the transition into the academic program.

The report recommends:

  • Delaying choices about education pathways for as long as possible
  • Improving de-streaming
  • Providing better support for students who want to move into the academic stream
  • Improving communication about pathways to parents and students
  • Providing better one-on-one support, especially from teachers