Can collecting data on students’ race help boost achievement? Ontario is about to find out

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The provincial government will begin collecting and analyzing data on the ethnicity of students in an attempt to improve school achievement, CBC News has learned.

The move will be announced today by Education Minister Mitzie Hunter as just one part of the province’s new equity action plan, according to a government source.

The decision to gather demographic data such as race and ethnicity and to analyze its relation to school achievement will help the government make better education policies, said the source.

Word of the decision comes just as students across the province return to the classroom — and after complaints of discrimination and racism made headlines during the past school year.

In April, Hunter issued a sweeping list of directives to the York Region District School Board after two high-profile incidents of racism and Islamophobia within the YRDSB: one in which a school trustee used a racial slur when referring to a black parent, and another in which a principal posted offensive material on Islam and refugees to her Facebook page.

Those two incidents were set against a backdrop of mounting complaints of systemic racism in the board.

That was followed by the YRDSB thanking the ministry for the report, albeit pointing out it contained “significant errors of fact,” and making assurances it would take action immediately.

Also in April, news emerged that almost half of Toronto District School Board students expelled over the last five years are black. That finding was one that TDSB executive superintendent Jim Spyropoulos said left him “alarmed.”

A report out of York University found that a similar phenomenon reverberated across the Greater Toronto Area, with black students routinely being streamed into applied programs rather than academic ones, and suspended at much higher rates than their counterparts.

Led by professor Carl James, the study made several recommendations which the TDSB said it would review.

And in June, an investigation into allegations that a high school teacher in Whitby, Ont., referred to a group of black students with a derogatory term using the N-word with no punishment for the teacher, according to a parent who attended a meeting with the Durham District School Board.

The announcement is to take place at Hillside Public School in Mississauga.

Original article – 

Can collecting data on students’ race help boost achievement? Ontario is about to find out

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