"School shopping" in Ontario based on income and ethnicity

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"School shopping" in Ontario based on income and ethnicity

Quote:
The Ontario government has bowed to pressure from educators and scrapped a contentious feature on a website that allowed parents to shop around for a public school based on the income and immigrant backgrounds of students.

Education Minister Kathleen Wynne agreed to remove the "shopping bag" function from her ministry's website, following a heated meeting yesterday with school principals, directors of education and parent groups who make up the education partnership. Many at the meeting asked the minister to get rid of the School Information Finder website, which was launched on the weekend, altogether. [...]

However, Peter Cowley, the Fraser Institute's director of school performance studies, said the website as initially designed would have armed parents with precisely the kind of information that should be easily accessible for them. He said such socioeconomic information is already available in every province for those who know how to find it.

"Having comparative information is very good for everybody," he said in an interview. "I think it should be a model of transparency."

[url=G&M[/url]">http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090407.wschools07ar...

Michelle

Figures that the Fraser Institute would think it's a good idea to help parents shop for schools based on the income and ethnic background of the students there! 

You know, I think any of that information is problematic, but I can see an argument being made for grade information, even if I don't agree with it.  But how on earth could ANYONE justify income and ethnic backgrounds?  It's unbelievable!

Sineed

It would actually work against you in some cases.  I'm thinking of Parkdale CI, which has a word-of-mouth reputation for being an excellent school even though it's in an area with a high concentration of immigrants and people on social assistance. 

Some schools, like maybe Parkdale CI, have benefited from being in a "bad" neighbourhood by having extra resources poured into them.

Stephen Gordon

Well, it is publicly-available information: give me a postal code and a bit of time, and I can get it for you. And peer effects - which depend on income and ethnicity - are very important in determining education outcomes. That's how and why we target resources to schools where these factors make it difficult to generate good outcomes.

It's Me D

"School shopping" seems very big south of the border so I imagine its headed our way like so many trends. This "shopping bag" appeared to go farther than most US school shopping tools I've seen though, by listing things like the numbers of students of which ethnicity and parental education.

I can't say there was a lot of school shopping around when I went to school, but then again in rural NS you haven't so many options!

Michelle

It's true that it's publicly available information, Stephen, but the issue is, whether the government should be encouraging parents - who would probably not otherwise bother - to look up this information in order to compare schools in their area and decide where to send their kids.

In a racist, classist society, how do you think parents would use such information, all neatly compiled and put at their fingertips?  And what message does it send to people to present such information in such a manner?  To me, the message is, "Here, we want to help you pick the school with the richest, whitest kids, so your kids can associate with only the best!"

Michelle

It's Me D, yeah, it's true.  I was visiting a friend in Syracuse last year and she and her husband were looking for a house.  So we were looking at listings, and the ratings of the nearby schools were right in the online listings for the properties.  I don't remember it showing demographic information, but it definitely showed parent ratings of the schools, and a "GreatSchools Rating" whatever that is.  And the US is known for their "white flight" school districts. L

isting demographic information in such an easily searchable place, and encouraging parents to use it and to discriminate based on ethnicity and income is absolutely appalling, and would most certainly encourage and lead to exactly that sort of "white flight" (and "rich flight") here.  It's not like our neighbourhoods aren't already divided enough on racial and income lines.  But I discovered that the neighbourhood divisions of race and class are way more pronounced in the US than it is here - it was quite startling to see.  I don't want to see that trend encouraged here.

It's Me D

Michelle wrote:
It's not like our neighbourhoods aren't already divided enough on racial and income lines. But I discovered that the neighbourhood divisions of race and class are way more pronounced in the US than it is here - it was quite startling to see. I don't want to see that trend encouraged here.

 

Very well said Michelle. It was scary to observe the last time I was in the US too. Even extends to divisions between big-box stores, those frequented by minorities and those frequented by whites... I really don't want this thinking to become typical here, though I don't doubt it already is in some ways/areas.

Stephen Gordon

Michelle wrote:

It's true that it's publicly available information, Stephen, but the issue is, whether the government should be encouraging parents - who would probably not otherwise bother - to look up this information in order to compare schools in their area and decide where to send their kids.

In a racist, classist society, how do you think parents would use such information, all neatly compiled and put at their fingertips?  And what message does it send to people to present such information in such a manner?  To me, the message is, "Here, we want to help you pick the school with the richest, whitest kids, so your kids can associate with only the best!"

Maybe parents of kids who are not rich and not white will be able to find schools where not-rich and not-white kids do relatively well.

Bookish Agrarian

None of that determines the quality of the education in the school. 

It might, and it is a big frikkin might, effect how ready kids are to learn when they step in the doors of the school but that is all. 

It is not just poor and non-white schools that get targeted under this approach, it is also small and rural schools too, although they should often fit into the poor category, most people don't see it that way.  There are lots of good schools in the 'bad' areas and lots of crappy schools in the 'good' areas.  What matters is how involved the teachers and administration are, how supportive the Board is and how involved parents actually are in the life of their kids.  And  none of that has to do with who goes to the school.

Supporting this kind of bean counter approach in education is exactly why American schools are failing.

remind remind's picture

Supporting this kind of bean counter approach in education is exactly why American schools are failing.Laughing

Stephen Gordon

Perhaps, but if you're not well-off, it doesn't really help you to learn that schools in rich neighbourhoods give good outcomes: it's not as if the solution for a low-income family that is concerned for their children's education is to buy a house in Rosedale.

More generally, just the fact of giving parents choices can improve outcomes. For example, here's a recent NBER study on how and why the separate school system generates better outcomes, even though it gets the same funding as public schools:

Quote:
The province of Ontario has two publicly funded school systems: secular schools (known as public schools) that are open to all students, and separate schools that are open to children with Catholic backgrounds. The systems are administered independently and receive equal funding per student. In this paper we use detailed school and student-level data to assess whether competition between the systems leads to improved efficiency. Building on a simple model of school choice, we argue that incentives for effort will be greater in areas where there are more Catholic families, and where these families are less committed to a particular system. To measure the local determinants of cross-system competition we study the effects of school openings on enrollment growth at nearby elementary schools. We find significant cross-system responses to school openings, with a magnitude that is proportional to the fraction of Catholics in the area, and is higher in more rapidly growing areas. We then test whether schools that face greater cross-system competition have higher productivity, as measured by test score gains between 3rd and 6th grade. We estimate a statistically significant but modest-sized impact of potential competition on the growth rate of student achievement. The estimates suggest that extending competition to all students would raise average test scores in 6th grade by 6-8% of a standard deviation.

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

What matters is how involved the teachers and administration are, how supportive the Board is and how involved parents actually are in the life of their kids.  And  none of that has to do with who goes to the school.

I'm finding just how big a role administration can play in how good a school is and what kind of learning environment you wind up with.  We have a principal who is ineffectual and it's really setting the tone for some teachers...  Even the good teachers struggle when there isn't the right kind of administrative support.  It's turning what was a good school for us a few years ago into a place where our kids just can't seem to get their needs met. 

No matter what neighborhood you find yourself in, it's a crap shoot.

Stephen Gordon

That's sort of the point of the school choice story I cited. Separate school administrators in Ontario don't have any extra resources, but they do face the prospect of being shut down if they can't deliver decent results - Catholics don't *have* to send their kids to separate schools. That incentive seems to be enough to generate statistically significant results.

 

Bookish Agrarian

They don't have to accept students in the same way.  The public system is the system of last resort.  It is not unusual to see difficult to educate students sent to the public system.  That's a good way to bump up your statistics too.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Interesting cross-issues in this thread:

http://www.rabble.ca/babble/central-canada/private-schools-under-investi...

In terms of public schools I think it was Maclean's that did a huge piece on the TDSB about a year ago about this issue of not only shopping for schools, but parents doing all kinds of wacky, illegal stunts to get their kids qualified to go to a certain school, Jackman Public School, in Riverdale. Anyone else remember that? Both my mom and my sister teach in the public system (one at the high school level and one at the middle/elementary level) so we talk about this issue a fair bit.

And, thread drift, but I feel the need to say this: even though schools are funded on a per student basis, schools in richer neighbourhoods have more resources than schools that aren't. Parents in schools in higher income neighbourhoods carry more influence, etc.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

There was already a thread, perhaps not well titled but I believe there is a petition.

 
http://tomorrowstrust.ca/?p=5583
From here:
http://www.rabble.ca/babble/central-canada/moe-school-information-finder

Caissa

A group of  Upper Middle Class parents in SJ supported a restructuring plan supported by the District Education Council. The plan would have seen the closure of two community schools in vulnerable communities and the transfer of students from the middle school to an under-utilized  physical plant in the upper middle class neighbourhood. The Minister rejected the plan in support of continuing the Community Schools model wityh their attendant extra resources. These parents aren't taking no for answer and are trying to convince the DEC to create a Community School for middle school in their affluent neighbourhood. Of course, this makes a mockery of the community school model. They just don't want their children being bussed into a vulnerable neighbourhood and studying with kids from the lower class. I was one of these lower class kids at the school over 30 years ago so this cuts close to the bone.

Rexdale_Punjabi Rexdale_Punjabi's picture

all this does is help the rich parents cuz exactly how someone else said when u poor and esp in public housing you dont choose what school ur kids go to. The rich parents do and actually this city is pretty segregated. Go to martingrove and eglinton for example. All north of it you got willowrige, rexdale, dixon etc all poor communites full of non-white ppl a lot of who are refugees. Other side you got kingsway rich n white. My high school got literally 13 white kids out of 13-1400. Mayb 150 asian kids. Rest is guyanese, jamaican, somali, or south asian (punjabi, tamil, or gujurati). All poor n not white. N schools in the area like Carr, West Humber, etc got the same thing. This city still segregated as shit.

 

Word of Mouth helps create rich white ass schools and this will help it even mre and poor ppl like I said don't really have a choice on where they live that maybe you can send the kids to a poor good school won't work. Most of the time ppl follow their jobs, where ppl speak their language, or where the gov tells them they have to stay. Aint against the info but this jus messed up not making it availible wouldnt really change anything but you can see what it encourages

Star Spangled C...

Interesting thread. Sorry I'm just getting to it now.

There are two interesting questions that it seems to raise: the first is whether the demographic makeup of the student body (ethnicity, income, etc.) is corelated to the quality of education within a school. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. Without a data set in front of me and a graduate degree in sociology, I don't really feel qualified to comment on it one way or another.

The second question is: assuming that there IS a corelation between student body makeup and school quality, is it ethical for parents to "shop around" and try to get their kids into what they think is a better school? And the answer to me is a resounding YES. Some people seem to be disparaging parents who would shop around for a school. I, for one, applaud them. One of your primary responsibilities as a parent is to get your child the best possible education that you can, and to provide them with the best opportunity to be successful in life (however you want to define success).

It sucks that there are such disparities within the school system. I'd love to see the day when all schools are great and every student has the same opportunities no matter which school they attend. But we don't ahve that today and so I'm gonna make damn sure that MY son gets the best that I can provide them. Are tehre any parents on this board who would deliberately send their kids to what they consider an inferior school jsut to make some sort of point or because they don't want to be accused of endorsing discrimination.

I really took offence when people attacked the Obamas for choosing to send their daughters to an expensive private school instead of a D.C. public school. First of all, I think that criticizing a president's performance as president is obviously fair game. Criticizing decisions the Obamas make as a mother and father should be off-limits. But what really was troublesome was that nobody suggested that by going to the private school in question the Obama girls would NOT get a great education. People jsut thought it would be "symbolically important" to send them to public school. Well, these aren't symbols. They're kids and they deserve the best education that their parents are able to provide them. I would actually have LOST respect for the Obamas if they were willing to sacrifice teh quality of their daughters' education in order to score political points.

Caissa

How would you define "quality of education" SSC?

Star Spangled C...

caissa, in terms of how I'd define quality...  it's not a single variable, it encompasses a lot of different things and it can also vary based on what your child's interests and needs are. So if one kids wants to be a doctor and one kid wants to be an artist the "quality of education" offered by one school could differ for each kid. if one child is gifted and another has a learning disability, again, the same school might offer very different quality.

In general, were I to be looking at a school (we're years away from that point still), I'd look at academic factors like average grades, average test scores, SAT scores, graduation rates, the percentage who are accepted to college, etc. Then there are the "extras" offered: is there a music program? Theatre program? Sports teams? That could be important if your kid is into those things.  You've got issues of faculty: how experienced are the teachers? How long has the average teacher been at the school? (If teachers are leaving every couple years, that may raise a red flag). Then there are the "socio/cultural" factors: is violence a problem at the school? Drugs? Are parents generally involved in the school, etc.

The ethnicity and income of the student body are not a factor...UNLESS these things can be corelated to the quality of the school. I can see scenarios in which they make absolutely no difference. I can also see scenarios where they could play a major factor.

riffraffrenegade

Star Spangled Canadian wrote:

 

It sucks that there are such disparities within the school system. I'd love to see the day when all schools are great and every student has the same opportunities no matter which school they attend. But we don't ahve that today and so I'm gonna make damn sure that MY son gets the best that I can provide them. Are tehre any parents on this board who would deliberately send their kids to what they consider an inferior school jsut to make some sort of point or because they don't want to be accused of endorsing discrimination.

 

 

I am one of those parents who is deliberately sending my child to what most in my community believes is the inferior school....not because I don't want to be accused of endorsing discrimination....but because I believe that segregating children based on socioeconomic status or race or religion is morally abhorent.  My child's school is considered inferior because when EQAO scores were first published, middle class parents studied those scores and while one community school had only  slightly higher scores, the middle class parents started to choose the "better" school.  Now there is a veritable chasm between EQAO scores for our two schools.  What this means is that one school is oversubscribed and middle class parents are now willing to convert to Catholicism just to get their children into the Separate middle class Catholic school.  EQAO scores were never meant for this purpose.

 

All I keep thinking is....so this is how ghettos happen:  When middle class parents of every political stripe forget where they came from and shortsightedly think that what is best for their children is putting up walls between their precious progeny and "those other" children.  It doesn't really matter if those walls are based on race, socioeconomic status, religion, or ability.  It's all the same.  It was bad enough when right wing thinktanks like the Fraser & C.D. Howe Institutes were pushing this consumer, free market agenda.  Now our government, which should be looking out for the public good has bought into the whole mess.  I am thoroughly disgusted.

 Yes, people want what is best for their children but, call me kooky, I don't think that social fragmentation and polarization is what is best for my two young sons.

 

 

 

Star Spangled C...

Even so, I would imagine that there would be certain schools that you wouldn't send them to in a million years. My best friend from back in Toronto is a teacher at an inner-city public high high school and I cant believe the shit he has to put up with. A very small percentage of students are actually interested in learning. THe drop out rate is close to 50% The percentage who go on to university is negligible. Teachers are routinely cursed at and have even been spat on and pushed. Breaking up fights has come to be part of a teacher's job description. In a million years, I wouldn't let my son go to that school.

I don't think seeking out the best school is endorsing "social fragmentation." The best school could be incredibly diverse and it could be very homogenous. I'm sure that Stanford University is vastly more diverse than a community college in Utah and is also vastly superior. You may think polarization is bad but it ahs become reality. And I have no intention of sacrificing my son's education to make some stand against polarization.

It's Me D

Great post riffraffrenegade, thanks for sharing. I think it brings to light the other side of SSCs concern for the children... that being all those other children. Your example shows how concern for ones own children, even well intentioned, can result in serious damage to the overall quality of education for all children (by concentrating resources out of reach of most parents/children). I don't have kids but if I do I'd hope my concern for them didn't blind me to concern for all those other children whose opportunities are diminished when parents take such self-serving actions; in the long run "social fragmentation and polarization" as you put it isn't just bad for your sons, its bad for all the children in the system.

It's Me D

SSC: I don't know what school in TO you're referring to in post #23 but I'd venture to guess, with a 50% drop-out rate and few students going on to college, this school is in a low-income community. Have you stopped to consider why the kids there drop out and never make it to university? Most likely they never had much of a chance of getting there anyway, given the cost; by assuming these stats mean the parents/students don't care you're missing the real reason behind the stats, that people have no hope. I'm not advocating for dropping out but if you're in highschool and poor, and you have a choice between finishing highschool and then getting a crummy job, or quitting highschool and getting a crummy job right away, I can certainly see the systemic incentive to drop-out. Blaming the parents/students for this situation is a way of deflecting blame from a system which provides incentive to drop-out and little incentive to stay in.

Caissa

 The creation of heterogeneous school shold probably be a matter of public policy.

Star Spangled C...

I don't buy that argument, D. I mean, it may very well be factually accurate but it's not compelling enough to me. As a father, my first priority is my children. I'm always gonna do what is best for him, no matter what. It sucks if other people's kids don't have the same opportunities that I can provide to mine but I'm still unwilling to sacrifice my own child as a gesture of solidarity. I mean, some kids don't ahve access to medical treatment. that's absolutely tragic. But I'm not gonna deny medical treatment to MY son because not all kids get it. Some kids live in horrible housing conditions but I'm not gonna move MY son out of the nice home that we're providing him. And some kids are stuck in really terrible schools. Again, that's horrible. But I will never feel guilty about providing my son with the very best that I am possibly able to give him.

Perhaps one of you could explain why you think social polarization would be bad for YOUR sons.

Star Spangled C...

It's Me D wrote:

I can certainly see the systemic incentive to drop-out. Blaming the parents/students for this situation is a way of deflecting blame from a system which provides incentive to drop-out and little incentive to stay in.

Oh, I'm not trying to "blame" anyone. I'm merely recognizing the reality that any single child's education doesn't exist in a vaccuum. Students are affected by the environment that they're in. If the environment is such that a child is around a large number of students not interested in learning, where rudeness to teachers is the norm, where violence is common, that will affect them. And I'm unwilling to put my son into such an environment.

Star Spangled C...

It's Me D wrote:

I can certainly see the systemic incentive to drop-out. Blaming the parents/students for this situation is a way of deflecting blame from a system which provides incentive to drop-out and little incentive to stay in.

Oh, I'm not trying to "blame" anyone. I'm merely recognizing the reality that any single child's education doesn't exist in a vaccuum. Students are affected by the environment that they're in. If the environment is such that a child is around a large number of students not interested in learning, where rudeness to teachers is the norm, where violence is common, that will affect them. And I'm unwilling to put my son into such an environment.

Star Spangled C...

Caissa wrote:

 The creation of heterogeneous school shold probably be a matter of public policy.

They tried that in the states with the "busing" program. It is considered one of the msot disastrous domestic policy ideas in a long time and most of the politicians who supported it were thrown out of office by angry voters (black and white alike).

Caissa

I have two sons in the school system and i couldn't agree more with riffraffrenegade.

It's Me D

Thats quite an offensive post (ETA #27 as more have since come in) SSC. If I was one of YOUR sons I'd be offended by reading that. Discriminate on your own behalf, don't hide behind YOUR sons.

You've totally missed the point, its not about depriving your kids of something just because other kids don't have it, its about caring for all the kids and working to ensure that they all have whatever resources you think your kids deserve (but apparently all the other kids don't). If the school in your community lacks resources but you among all the parents have the means to move your kids and choose to, instead of fighting to improve the quality of education in your community, you've condemned all the other kids in your community to a fate you don't believe your kids deserve, why do all the other kids deserve this fate? How about using those same means that allow you to cherry-pick the best school for your kids to instead help improve the quality of your community's school for ALL the kids in the community.

Star Spangled C...

It's Me D wrote:

 If the school in your community lacks resources but you among all the parents have the means to move your kids and choose to, instead of fighting to improve the quality of education in your community, you've condemned all the other kids in your community to a fate you don't believe your kids deserve, why do all the other kids deserve this fate? How about using those same means that allow you to cherry-pick the best school for your kids to instead help improve the quality of your community's school for ALL the kids in the community.

The others kids DON'T "deserve" this fate and i never suggested that they did. I think every kid deserves the best education that society can provide. I'm pointing out that that is not the present reality. As to why I don't work to improve the overall quality of schools for ALL kids instead of focusing on mine, the two aren't mutually exclusive. that's certainly a noble goal and one that we all SHOULD engage in. But change doesn't happen overnight and in the meantime, the kids (mine among them) stuck in bad schools would continue to suffer while we wait for this transformation. I'm not willing to subject my son to that.

Let me try the following analogy: a person who lives in Canada and makes a decent income gets diagnosed with HIV. Because of his location and income, he has access to anti retroviral medications that will keep his symptoms at bay, largely maintain his existing quality of life and dramatically extend the length of his life. Obviously, there are people in the world who, through accident of birth, do not have the same access to these meds. They can look forward to intense illness, suffering and an early death. Do ethics demand that our well-off Canadian not take these life-saving drugs cause not everyone has access? Is it selfish for him to focus on his own health instead of working to change the system so that everyone gets access to the same drugs that he has? Is it noble for him to sacrifice himself in the name of equality? If YOU were in this situation would you ahve any guilt about taking the drugs? how about if it were your son?

It's Me D

Quote:
As to why I don't work to improve the overall quality of schools for ALL kids instead of focusing on mine, the two aren't mutually exclusive.

So first you rescue your kids from the communty school and the when they are safely cloistered away from the poor kids you will work to improve the community school... sounds about as effective as the rest of our Western outlook... first we worry about ourselves, then if there's some leftovers, maybe we could give them to the "others".

And your examples just keep getting worse.

Star Spangled C...

Yeah, that's exactly what I will do. I make no pretense of being a perfect person by any means and there are many things about that can be easily criticized but my committment to my son is not one of them. I will never feel guilty about doing everything I can for him.

What was the flaw in the example I used? Let's try another that is from my actual life. Here where I live, we ahve a two-tier healthcare system. Because of my job, I (and my family) get access to the absolute best healthcare available. Other people (through no fault of their own) aren't as fortunate. If my son gets sick, I'm getting him the best treatment I can. Without even an ounce of guilt. Would it be more ethical to deny him the best medicine because not everyone gets it? It's very easy to support abstract principles of equality in theory. it's quite another thing when push actually comes to shove.

Tommy_Paine

It's difficult to have a homogenous school when we don't have homogenous neighborhoods.

 

It struck me while going through the posts that in Toronto, where the police were or are forbidden to keep statistics based on race or ethnicity, and the furror around that issue has not translated to the keeping of statistics on ethnicity or race in education statistics.

Who came up with that idea Phillip Rushton? 

You know, boys and girls, what our education system is about?  It's about walking that fine line betweem creating workers who are smart enough to run the machines and processes, but guillable enough to be modern consumers, and supporters of political parties that actively operate against their interests.

And, that's across the board,  the one thing that links poor and rich schools alike.

As parents, we get hoodwinked or bullied into thinking this thing or that is doing what's best for your kid.   Moving them around from one lie factory to another is a distraction.

 

 

 

 

Star Spangled C...

Yeah, Tommy, cause most of our economy today is about running machines....

Tommy_Paine

What are you using to post with?

 

Stockholm

Its common knowledge that school performance on standardized tests is almost perfectly correlated to the average household income of the zone the school draws from. Why do people even need to look at these statistics about the demographic makeup of each school - all you need to do is look at what census tract the school is in, go to the Statscan website and see what the average income is in that census tract.

If I had kids, I'm not sure what I would do. Not having kids, I can live wherever I want. I could find some neat loft in an industrial park that had some very poor areas around it and maybe was on a street with heavy traffic and it wouldn't matter to me because not having kids - I don't have to give any consideration at all to what environment I want my kids to grow up in. I suppose that some people here seem to be arguing that if I have school age kids, the "politically correct" thing to do would be to move to the Jane-Finch corridor and send my kids to a school where (to quote SSC) "an inner-city public high high school and I cant believe the shit he has to put up with. A very small percentage of students are actually interested in learning. THe drop out rate is close to 50% The percentage who go on to university is negligible. Teachers are routinely cursed at and have even been spat on and pushed. Breaking up fights has come to be part of a teacher's job description."...and maybe I'd wave goodbye to my son or daughter every morning and say "you're getting a great cultural experience and just remember when you get beaten up every day in the school yard by all the thugs that at least you are doing your part to reduce social segregation in the school system".

I'm just not sure if i would be willing to make that sacrifice.

May be the only solution would be to bring busing to Canada. Back in the 60s and 70s they did busing to reduce de facto racial segregation in schools and they bused black kids to heavily white schools and vice versa. Of course it also led to riots in places like Boston and almost singlehandedly catapulted George Wallace to a position of power in American politics etc... But getting back to the point - what about busing kids from rich and poor neighbourhoods to schools across town so that every school in Toronto would have the same average household income?

Star Spangled C...

Tommy_Paine wrote:

What are you using to post with?

Posting on a message board isn't how I earn a living.

Star Spangled C...

Stochkolm, the busing policies in the U.S. were a miserable failure. They did absolutely nothing to improve educational outcomes among the students it was designed to help. All it did was increase racial tensions and force kids to ride a bus for two hours a day even though there was a school 5 minutes from their house. And it also basically led virtually every family with the means to do so to abandon the public school system en masse. many abandoned urban centres entirely and fled to the suburbs creating the "donut cities" that you see in palces like Detroit and Atlanta.

And what is maybe MOST interesting about the busing phenomenon was that some of the biggest advocates of the policy, like ted Kennedy made damn sure to send THEIR kids to pricey private schools. People are very eager to push for "progressive" policies that promote "tolerance" and "equality" as long as it's other people's kids who are bearing the consequences.

Stockholm

I'm not seriously recommending busing - I'm just saying that its the only way i can see to quickly make all schools have a similar socio-economic makeup. Got any other ideas?

It's Me D

SSC: No one has called for parents to arbitrarily harm their kids just for the hell of it, please stop posting examples of such; do you support two-tiered healthcare?

 

WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER

It's Me D

stockholm wrote:
Got any other ideas?

Go to the school in your community. Thats what this discussion is about. No one is calling on parents to correct socio-economic divisions, all that has been suggested is that increasing these divisions doesn't benefit anyone, even if it might appear to be in ones short-term self-interest.

Star Spangled C...

It's Me D wrote:

 do you support two-tiered healthcare?

I do, yes. Based on my experiences both as a patient and a physician.

Unionist

It's Me D: Please don't be too shocked. And don't ask SSC rhetorical questions. You'll get answers you don't expect.

 

It's Me D

Unionist: I was shocked at first, because of some assumptions that Babble is a progressive board; don't worry though they are on route to being shattered these days Frown

Star Spangled C...

Stockholm wrote:

 Got any other ideas?

Well, one idea would be to greatly expand the options for parents in choosing schools so that it's not just a matter of sending your kids to the one closest to you. Obviosuly, that's a lot easier to do in a place like Toronto than in a rural area, however. I also think we need to recognize that kids have different interests and abilities and so the teaching methods and curriculums should be more diverse in order to recognize this. So have a school with a strong focus on the arts that anyone can attend no matter where tehy live. Do the same with a school focused on technology or on teaching skilled trades, etc.

I also think we need to overhaul the way teachers are assigned and compensated. Right now, a teacher's salary is basically based on seniority and has nothing to do with how good they are. The shittiest teacher in the system can make twice as much as the best teacher in the system jsut because they've been there longer. In most organizations, it doesn't work like this. Elsewhere, people who perform very well get bonuses; people who do a shitty job get fired. What my friend in that failing school explained to me is that since good teachers can't get any sort of financial bonus, the "bonus" they DO get is being assigned to a "good' school with motivated students and no discipline problems. They figure "If I can't get a financial reward, my reward will be at least teaching in a school where the kids make an effort and treat me with respect." So, basically, the msot effective teachers go to the schools where the kids likely need them the least and the worst teachers (who basically can't get fired) get shuffled to the schools with kids who msot need good teachers. Thus, the cycle pepetuates. I would institute a system whereby teachers get "merit pay" for doing an exceptional job. I think teacher's salaries in general should be a lot higher to attract better candidates in the first place. I know a lot of people who considered being teachers but after graduating with a heavy student debt laod didn't think they could pull it off financially. I would also provide incentives to attract teh best teachers to schools where they're msot needed. That's how it works in the private sector. Lets say you run the Toronto branch of a company and do a great job. Meanwhile, the Vancouver branch is doing poorly. The company makes it worth your while to go over to Vancouver and help turn that branch around. That same principle should be applied to schools.

Unionist

See what I mean, It's Me D?

 

Tommy_Paine

 

Didn't the Toronto school board deliberately "segregate" a school last year?  Isn't there a gay oriented high school in Toronto?  I'm not questioning the ideas behind that. If anything, I see no small amount of wisdom behind it.  But one cannot escape the fact that such thinking is centered squarely in identity politics. 

Segregation from the left.  We only see segregating our children, it seems, as a good or bad thing depending on our social and political philosophies.    Which come and go like Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavours.

Why am I so sardonic today?

Anyway.  I think it all serves to distract us. 

As parents, we need to take instruction from Frederick Douglass, who learned at a young age the power of learning.   And, we need to instruct our children, at home, Douglass' lesson.  Cause they don't teach that in school. 

Interestingly,  the two men from that period of American history who have become icons of freedom-- Frederick Douglass (deservedly) and Abraham Lincoln (arguably) were auto didacts.

You can take a poor kid of colour from the infamous Jane and Finch area, and put him in the best schools in Toronto, and maybe he  or she will get much better grades,  maybe get a better job later in life.

It's, however, no garantee that he or she will learn anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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