Education Reform

The wealthiest kids come back in September and their reading scores have jumped more than 15 points.  The poorest kids come back from the holidays and their reading scores have dropped almost 4 points.  When it comes to reading skills, poor kids learn nothing when school isn’t in session. First Grade to fifth grade the reading score of poor kids go up by .26 points.  The reading scores of the rich kids by contrast go up by a whopping 52.49 points.  Virtually all of the advantage that wealthy students have over poor students is the results of differences in the way privileged kids learn while they are NOT in school. (Malcolm Gladwell 2008: pg, 258)

“Black students in general are less satisfied with their overall school experiences, more likely to report being bullied physically, and have less positive relationships with adults and peers in school (Yau et al., 2015). School safety data show that they have higher suspension and expulsion rates than other students (Zheng, 2013; Zheng et al., 2017). By the time Black students finish high school, 42% have been suspended at least once, compared with 18% of other students (James and Turner, 2017). Of the 200 students who were expelled between 2011 and 2016, nearly half self-identified as Black [Zheng & De Jesus, 2017].” (Page 24)

“Moreover, a greater proportion of Black students are streamed to the “lowest academic level classes,” specifically, Applied or Essential programs in secondary school: 48%, versus 19% of White students or 21% of others. A greater percentage of Black students are identified as having non-gifted exceptionalities, unidentified special needs, and/or in need of an Individual Education Plan requiring special education support: 26%, as opposed to 16% of White students or 9% of others.” (Page 25)

Multi-Layered Priority Neighbourhood Profiles

Priority Neighbourhood: Jane-Finch
Incarceration costs $36, 856 (Postal Code M3N)
Police Expenditures $30,576,947 (31 Division)
Data for Census Tract 0312.04 (2005) Percentage of families with one parent: 39% (+22%) 
Total population 15 years and over with no certificate, diploma or degree: 47% (+27%) 
Unemployment: 12.1% (+5.4%) 
Median income (All private households): $37,056 (-$27,072) 
TDSB Learning Opportunities Index School Rankings (2011) Westview Centennial SS (1/109)Brookview MS (15/479)Shoreham PS  (3/479)Driftwood PS (9/479)
Fraser Report Rankings(Secondary Schools 2011-12) Westview Centennial SS (696/725)
Affluent Neighbourhood: Rosedale
Incarceration costs (2008) $0  (Postal Code M4T)
Police Expenditures (2011) $20, 965,401 (53 Division)
Data for Census Tract 0344.02 (2005) Percentage of families with one parent 11% (-6%)
Total population 15 years and over with no certificate or degree 7% (-13%)
Unemployment 5.5% (-1.2%)
Median incomoe (All private households): $179, 935 (+115, 807)
TDSB Learning Opportunities Index School Rankings (2011) Northern SS (104/109)North Toronto CI (105/109)Whitby JPS (479/479)
Fraser Report Rankings(Secondary Schools 2011-12) North Toronto CI (14/725)

Debilitating impact of streaming 

*Delayed Pathways: A Collaborative Inquiry  Feb. 2017



●Middle to High Income 


●No Special Education Needs (94.5%)


●Promoted (93%)

●Graduate (81.6%)

●Confirm Post-Secondary (60.5%)



●Low Income 


●Non-Gender Conforming

● Special Education Needs (32.9%)


●Transferred (53.5% of Applied, 91.4% of Essentials )

●Early Leavers (39.2% graduation rate)

●Don’t apply to Post-Secondary (79.3%)

Learning Opportunity Index (LOI)

•The LOI is one of the TDSB’s tools in responding to external challenges affecting students

•The variables in the LOI have been identified as external factors that impact educational achievement 

•Variables  include measure of income and poverty, parents’ education, and proportion of single-parent families)

•The LOI measures relative need and compares all schools on exactly the same set of data collected in a consistent, reliable, and objective manner.

•The LOI helps to ensure that children who have access to fewer resources at home and in their neighbourhoods have increased access to available resources in their schools


[5]  The Learning Opportunity Index (LOI) is a Toronto District School Board (TDSB) measure that explores the variables impacting educational outcomes.  TDSB recognizes that students face varying degrees of challenges which can impact educational outcomes. Educational research has demonstrated that children from lower income families face more significant barriers in achieving high educational outcomes.  The LOI ranks each school based on measures of external challenges affecting student success. The school with the greatest level of external challenges is ranked number one and is described as highest on the index. The LOI is composed of variables which are combined into a single index. The variables used are: median income; percentages of families whose income is below the low incomemeasure; percentages of families receiving social assistance; adults with low education, adults with university degree and lone parent families.  The fact is the measure fails to factor in aggregating variables such as racism, exposure to violence and the noisomes children are exposed to in crimenogenic communities.  However incomplete, the LOI as a measure gives us some indication as to some factors influencing educational outcomes. 

LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES INDEX 2020 RankingJane Finch (Humber River/Black Creek Constituency) 
Elementary Schools Secondary Schools
Shoreham Public Sports and Wellness Academy 1 Westview Centennial SS 2
York Woods PS 2 Downsview SS 5
Firgrove PS 3 CW Jefferys CI 12
Driftwood Public School 8 Emery CI 19
Oakdale Park MS 11    
Brookview MS 13    
Topcliff PS 20    
Gosford PS 21    

Black children, by and large in the Canadian school system are allowed to fail.

Afua Cooper says it is not an issue of money. “If you look at a school board like Toronto… the Toronto District School Board… their budget is two billion dollars a year. Two billion!  Soyou’re spending a lot of money and there’s specific populations that are failing. Somebody needs to be held accountable, and that’s not happening.”


Figure 2: Graduation Rates Across Grade 9-10

One of the resounding themes in the, “Roots of Youth Violence Report,” a report commissioned by then Ontario’s Premier Dalton McGunity and compiled by the Honourable Roy McMurtry and Dr. Alvin Curling in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a high school student, Jordan Manners, was that of identifying the root causes of violence and the factors which gives rise to them.  According to the authors of the report “our experience and our work on this review make it clear to us that most youth who feel connected to and engaged with the broader society and who feel valued and safe and see a positive future for themselves will not commit serious violence.”  The report went on to further suggest that, “While no set of factors can explain all violence, we are persuaded that youth are most likely to be at immediate risk of involvement in serious violence if they: Have a deep sense of alienation and low self-esteem; Have little empathy for others and suffer from impulsivity; Believe that they are oppressed, held down, unfairly treated and  neither belong to nor have a stake in the broader society; Believe that they have no way to be heard through other channels; Have no sense of hope.  The Roots of Violence Report advanced education and social engagement as mechanisms of hope and viable alternatives to counter the draconian realties of the tenets outlined above which nurtures and facilitates the perpetration of violent acts.  “Education is universally seen as one of the best ways out of poverty and as a sound investment in the future of individuals, families and communities, and thus in the social fabric of our entire society.” The CSI  will amplify inter-cultural understanding through our “IDEA” framework which is a key pillar of our curriculum, programs, services, staffing and volunteers. Inclusion, diversity, equity, and access is critical for our participants and the communities we serve. As an organization we recognize the map is very different from the terrain, and in many instances inter-cultural understanding remains theoretical or at the policy level.  The (CSI) project will ensure the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of various cultures within our community are not just represented but also respectfully engaged. Our aim is to not just promote and amplify inter-cultural understanding but to imbed cultural competency and cultural considerations of care.