Parenting & Family

TDSB head wants to phase out streaming (academic/applied class tiers)

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  • Feb 13th, 2018 8:47 am
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titaniumtux wrote:
Feb 11th, 2018 11:53 am
Some schools could even do mixed classrooms (say lower end schools), where the better students, although in the same classrooms as the applied students, get handed over more challenging exams, etc.
This is an interesting idea. It's similar to how combined classes in elementary schools work. The curriculum, with the exception of social studies, science, and health, has significant overlap and build logically from grade to grade. You could teach a combined 3/4 class about multiplication by showing the same strategies, drawing the same arrays, modelling the same manipulatives, but then giving the grade 4s questions up to 9x9 and giving the grade 3s questions up to 7x7 on their assessment. I think that the high school curriculum would have to change to accommodate something like this at the secondary level. There are already so many specific expectations that many high school teachers, especially in math, will rush through or entirely omit certain units (usually the personal finance ones, go figure). There are also certain concepts in academic classes that aren't covered at all in applied classes and vice versa. In this case, you'd need to teach one concept to one group while the other is doing something and then vice versa. Again, it can be done, and it is done every day in elementary school combined classrooms. Not as easy at the secondary level given the current curriculum expectations.
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jvnanu wrote:
Feb 11th, 2018 2:14 pm
This is an interesting idea. It's similar to how combined classes in elementary schools work. The curriculum, with the exception of social studies, science, and health, has significant overlap and build logically from grade to grade. You could teach a combined 3/4 class about multiplication by showing the same strategies, drawing the same arrays, modelling the same manipulatives, but then giving the grade 4s questions up to 9x9 and giving the grade 3s questions up to 7x7 on their assessment. I think that the high school curriculum would have to change to accommodate something like this at the secondary level. There are already so many specific expectations that many high school teachers, especially in math, will rush through or entirely omit certain units (usually the personal finance ones, go figure). There are also certain concepts in academic classes that aren't covered at all in applied classes and vice versa. In this case, you'd need to teach one concept to one group while the other is doing something and then vice versa. Again, it can be done, and it is done every day in elementary school combined classrooms. Not as easy at the secondary level given the current curriculum expectations.
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wirebound wrote:
Jan 29th, 2018 9:06 am
That's the thing. A lot of the kids in applied courses aren't trouble makers and shouldn't be low achievers. Black males and kids from low income neighbourhoods are twice as more likely to be streamed into applied programs than academic - but there are studies that show they did just fine in the early elementary levels. Something is happening to those kids, making them switch from being achievers to what you describe as 'low achievers'. That's not necessarily to do with aptitude, its because of stigma, poor resourcing, awful guidance support at the elementary school level and frankly, a generation of parents who also didn't go on to higher education and don't have the social or financial capital to help their kids get there either. It ends up as part of a cycle of poverty. If streaming was removed, and actual supports were put in to help the kids who needed it (accommodations, whatever) then I think it would help for sure. As long as people see the kids in applied courses as effectively garbage - as many of you guys who posted here seem to think - then they'll continue to struggle by the barriers we put in front of them. Something has to change.
Show me these studies. As a grade 8 teacher my role is to prepare them for high school. A students' background plays zero role in my stream recommendation. Can they academically handle it or not? And if they're on the fence we always push them toward academic. It would make zero sense for a child who is doing very well in elementary to be put in applied.

Everything that you're saying is so far out of touch with reality. Instead, I have a grade 8 class with 4 kids who speak zero English, several kids with intelligences that ait in the 2nd percentile (reading and math skills at grade 1 level), along with high achievers. Please try and tell me that students are not going to get a better education if they were in a class that was more geared toward their baseline ability.

Our county schools are facing closure because they can't offer enough courses. Grade 11 applied chemistry classes are being mixed with Grade 12 Academic Chem. You want to try and argue that the grade 12 chem kids aren't being screwed as they'll head off to university chem unprepared.

Your suggestions sound really great for a campaign trail. They are however completely unrealistic. Supports in place? You'd rather out four EAs in every classroom? How about we stream students to like group abilities so they can get the instruction that's geared toward their baseline ability so that they can achieve their potential. Again, instead of arguing floaty ideas, show me the research.
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Moving the elementary style to high school is an incredibly bad idea. If one thing being a teacher had taught me is that specialists with skills need to teach specific subjects. This idea that an elementary teacher can teach 11 subjects to one class is absurd. You think your kids won't get a better education with them being taught by a teacher who specializes in music, or art, or phys ed, or writing? Instead, they may get someone who can teach 3 or 4 really well, and the rest mediocrely. Now take those 11 subject areas and tell them they have to teach a split Grade, which means you're teaching 22. Now throw in 3 or 4 modified programs which are all different from each other and different from the class' main expectations.

And before you start accusing me of being some lazy teacher, I coach 5 teams a year, I run two different clubs at recesses (badminton, and guitar), and there is never a time when I'm not spending my free lunch periods in the gym with students. But the fact is, streaming and specialized teachers will result in better education for kids.

I'm posting here because I really care about our education system. The government or school boards make these decisions based on money. I will be the first one to say that a lot of the education systems problems stem from one issue: teacher salaries. Salaries eat up such a massive part of the budget that school boards are forced to cut programs and find meagre ways to save money.

What I believe really needs to happen are two things: Students need proper instruction by teachers properly trained in a few subject areas who only plan and omatruct those subject areas.

And schools need to be empowered to make decisions, and hold students accountable without having to bend to the will of every parental or community complaint. Suspensions are at an all time low not because students are behaving. Teachers are the victims or more violence now more than ever. Sure go ahead and quote me something that says that the student doesn't benefit from a suspension. That's very likely true, but what the study doesn't show is the impact that that has on the school atmosphere overall as students don't see others being held accountable. Or the effect that has on teacher morale and the impact that has on instruction.

We place students in the 1st percentile in life skills programs so they can learn special skills to prepare then for the basics of life. But students in the 2nd percentile are integrated into classes with gifted students (98th percentile). You can tell me that it teachers our other students empathy and whatever else, just don't complain when test scores are poor.
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tim-x wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 5:14 am
Show me these studies. As a grade 8 teacher my role is to prepare them for high school. A students' background plays zero role in my stream recommendation. Can they academically handle it or not? And if they're on the fence we always push them toward academic. It would make zero sense for a child who is doing very well in elementary to be put in applied.
This is the main one I'd encourage you to read: http://edu.yorku.ca/files/2017/04/Towar ... l-2017.pdf. That isn't talking about the kids who absolutely need more educational support, that talks about unconscious (or conscious) bias that stereotypes some kids from early on. There's lots of studies on stereotyping and unconscious bias and studies on failure to fail.
I think its awesome that you're advocating for the kids for the right system, but I've experienced teachers basically saying "you figure it out" and teachers recommending switching three weeks into a program without even reading an IEP. It sounds like you care, we need more of that.
I realize what you're saying though, and I'm not trying to suggest the system is capable of handling it right now, its not. It needs considerable structural changes (which unfortunately, won't come with funding and the burden will fall on the teachers to figure it out with no extra support). That's a huge problem for me. Money isn't going to where it needs to go and I think its chronically underfunded.
I didn't see anyone suggesting we do away with specialized teachers for kids in highschool - it makes perfect sense to me that we have them.
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wirebound wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 6:49 am
This is the main one I'd encourage you to read: http://edu.yorku.ca/files/2017/04/Towar ... l-2017.pdf. That isn't talking about the kids who absolutely need more educational support, that talks about unconscious (or conscious) bias that stereotypes some kids from early on. There's lots of studies on stereotyping and unconscious bias and studies on failure to fail.
I think its awesome that you're advocating for the kids for the right system, but I've experienced teachers basically saying "you figure it out" and teachers recommending switching three weeks into a program without even reading an IEP. It sounds like you care, we need more of that.
I realize what you're saying though, and I'm not trying to suggest the system is capable of handling it right now, its not. It needs considerable structural changes (which unfortunately, won't come with funding and the burden will fall on the teachers to figure it out with no extra support). That's a huge problem for me. Money isn't going to where it needs to go and I think its chronically underfunded.
I didn't see anyone suggesting we do away with specialized teachers for kids in highschool - it makes perfect sense to me that we have them.
The research that you linked is simply compiled interviews and surveys. It hardly constitutes educational research. I have absolutely no doubt that systemic racism exists. I have absolutely no doubt that students from low income families do worse educationally. However there are so many factors that need to be considered before jumping to the conclusion that black students aren't receiving the same education as white students. These things would include:

-The emphasis of strong educational values put on students at home
-Follow up with discipline at home
-Intelligence levels at home (do I think that all low income families have low iq? Absolutely not. However many people with low IQ will have lower income.)
-Knowledge of the ins and outs of the educational system

However what I'm saying is that IEPs mean nothing if half of your class is on an IEP An EA in every classroom is not going to make a difference at that point. Teachers are overwhelmed trying to differentiate instruction for 11 subjects to two different grades with students ranging in ability from Grade 1 to Grade 8.

De-streaming will only lead to less academic achievement for that reason. Specialized teachers preparing for fewer subject areas will allow proper instruction and guidance in those subjects. The focus in my classroom is math, and I'm sorry to say that the arts and history fall by the wayside. I believe strongly that those subjects are important to a rich and well rounded educational experience. But it's incredibly difficult to teach those subjects properly when I have students in grade 8 who can't tie their shoes or add single digit numbers without a calculator.
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tim-x wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 7:01 am
The research that you linked is simply compiled interviews and surveys. It hardly constitutes educational research. I have absolutely no doubt that systemic racism exists. I have absolutely no doubt that students from low income families do worse educationally. However there are so many factors that need to be considered before jumping to the conclusion that black students aren't receiving the same education as white students. These things would include:

-The emphasis of strong educational values put on students at home
-Follow up with discipline at home
-Intelligence levels at home (do I think that all low income families have low iq? Absolutely not. However many people with low IQ will have lower income.)
-Knowledge of the ins and outs of the educational system
Interviews and surveys are forms of qualitative educational research but I'm really not interested in getting into a pissing contest with you on this one. You'll note that in my first post in this thread I mentioned parental involvement in education being tracked to outcomes in higher education and the link between social capital. There's definitely a link
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wirebound wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 7:18 am
Interviews and surveys are forms of qualitative educational research but I'm really not interested in getting into a pissing contest with you on this one. You'll note that in my first post in this thread I mentioned parental involvement in education being tracked to outcomes in higher education and the link between social capital. There's definitely a link
Yes I took stats too. However you cannot take interviews and make assumptions about a population. It's no different than a doctor making a 'diagnosis' of ADHD. The diagnosis stems from a survey of both the child's teacher and the parent.

However the point is, de-streaming needs to be approached very carefully for the reasons I've pointed out. We aren't arguing about the shortcomings of the education and parenting system here. But in my opinion de-streaming will lead to poorer instruction, not just for the higher achieving students, but also them lower ones as well.
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tim-x wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 5:21 am
Moving the elementary style to high school is an incredibly bad idea.
Who suggested that? If anything, I think that it should go the other way, particularly at intermediate. Everything should be on rotary with teachers who are experienced in those subjects.
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LeisureSuitL wrote:
Jan 28th, 2018 11:26 pm
Welcome to "the government is run by inept tools incapable of making good decisions" part 19375723e999.
agreed.
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