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BEHIND THE SCENES: York region parents protest de-streaming of Grade 10 applied courses

NewmarketToday reporter Joseph Quigley takes us behind the scenes

The removal of applied math courses by the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) has sparked concerns among parents like Rozanne Treger, who believe that the academic-level math classes are too challenging for their children. Treger argues that the board is imposing university-level education on students who may not have the ability or desire to pursue it. Parents are pushing back against the YRDSB's efforts to de-stream courses in earlier grades, which has resulted in the elimination of applied course options for Grade 10 math and history. This move goes beyond the province's de-streaming of math in Grade 9 and aims to promote equity in the school system by avoiding early labeling of students.

Treger and other parents argue that extending de-streaming to Grade 10 courses goes too far and exacerbates the issue. They highlight that students with various learning disabilities may struggle with the more advanced curriculum without a suitable alternative. Some parents have witnessed the negative impact on their children's mental health and academic performance, leading to increased stress levels and feelings of inadequacy. They say a lack of applied courses puts these students at a disadvantage and potentially subjects them to credit recovery or summer school, which parents perceive as discriminatory.

While the YRDSB and other boards are eliminating some applied programming in Grade 10 to address the negative effects of streaming, parents believe that better supports are needed for students and teachers during the implementation of de-streaming. The organization for Economic Co-operation and Development emphasizes the negative consequences of early student selection and recommends deferring such decisions to upper secondary education. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation supports de-streaming but highlights the importance of proper implementation and adequate resources to ensure positive impacts on student learning and achievement.

Video summary:

Parents in the York region are expressing concerns about the expansion of de-streaming practices to Grade 10 classes by the York Region District School Board (YRDSB). Some applied-level courses, including math and history, have been removed, leaving students to choose between more advanced academic options or locally developed courses. Parents have been protesting this decision for months, citing difficulties their children are facing and the potential for academic failure. The board has indicated that they do not plan to make any further changes for the next school year, standing behind their decision to remove these applied courses.

Parents of students impacted by this move have voiced concerns about the lack of equality in the new system. While de-streaming was initially implemented to promote equity and prevent students from being pigeonholed, many parents argue that students with learning disabilities are now struggling to keep up with the academic level in Grade 10. They feel that their children, who have various conditions, cannot adequately cope with the advanced curriculum without the applied option. Parents have shared stories of their children's efforts to succeed in Grade 10 academic math, including tutoring and extra support, but still being unable to pass. They fear that their children may be forced into credit recovery or summer school as a consequence of a system that they see as unfair.

The YRDSB is standing behind their decision, considering it a positive extension of the province's de-streaming efforts. While there may be some pushback from trustees based on the feedback from parents, other school boards in Ontario have not yet indicated plans to follow suit. The Ministry of Education has implemented de-streaming for Grade 9 math but has not provided any indications of wider implementation. However, de-streaming is expected to remain a topic of conversation in education in the coming years.