Ontario plans school for poor kids

A special school for low-income students planned by the Niagara (Canada) school district amounts to “educational apartheid,” charges Peter Kormos, who serves in Ontario’s parliament. Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky worries about “stigmatization.”

The school board plans to open a middle school in the fall for low-income students whose parents aren’t college educated; eventually the school will go up to 12th grade.  From the Toronto Star:

The school would spend extra time with students on developing learning skills and building self-confidence during an extended day aimed at giving children support they might not get at home if parents are working extra jobs, (school board vice chair Dale) Robinson added.

The district worked with a nearby university, the local YMCA and the elementary teachers’ union to develop the school.

I wonder what the district plans for high-achieving students from poor families or low achievers with middle-class parents?

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    You wonder? This is Canada. See Procrustes.

  2. Northof49th says:

    An article in the local paper suggested that the idea for this program came from the success of several southern California charter schools — perhaps Downtown College Prep? There is purportedly research support for this initiative. It will give the students consistency; low-income families move frequently and change schools often, to the detriment of the students’ progress. Students will be provided with mentors, transportation, meals:Canadian schools do not have “free and reduced lunch.” Too poor to bring a lunch? Tough luck, starve.

    There will be a variety of supports in developing study skills, work habits, and so forth. According to the article, the school is proposing to have an “academic” program — “academic” is the top track in grades 9 and 10, so this program seems to be aimed at high-achieving kids or ones who could be high-achieving with support.

    The fact that all the Gucci socialists have come out swinging against the idea is a strong argument for it. One of our middle school classes discussed the proposed academy yesterday. Of course, all the negatives were pointed out — stigma, labeling, ostracism, segregation. Then the students weighed in. Ours is a 100% “poor” school but has none of the amenities scheduled for the Niagara academy. Guess what? Every single student supported the proposal, and vehemently insisted s/he would go there if that were possible. Segregation? Labeling? They pointed out, “We’re labeled NOW. When we say we go to XXXX School, everybody knows we’re poor and probably stupid.”

    The Academy could turn out to be a positive move. I say give it a chance.