Parenting & Family

Thoughts on public schools in Toronto?

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  • Aug 25th, 2018 11:04 pm
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Dec 27, 2013
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I also agree with the point that fundraising can provide more access to equipment in the classroom. I work at a school that has access to quite a lot of technology. Most of my students bring their own laptops to class every day and the school has Chromebooks for those that don't. I plan my program based on the fact that I know my students will have consistent 1:1 access to technology at school and at home. If I worked at a school that did not have the same access to technology I'd have to modify my program accordingly. We live in a digital world and students need to learn how to use technology effectively and appropriately. Unfortunately, even within the same board, you have a large range of access to these resources.
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KennyX wrote:
Jul 9th, 2018 10:36 am
I do believe that there is a big difference in the environment and backgrounds of the children that will ultimately be interacting with our little ones from neighborhood to neighborhood. I don’t want this to turn into a big debate on rich vs. poor, race, culture differences, etc… but it’s also not a coincidence that school rankings are reflected by some of these factors.
School rankings are bunk. Lower test scores that result in lower school rankings do not mean your kid's achievement will be dragged down compared to going to a school where the averages are higher. That's a myth. Putting your kids in a school with a bunch of other rich white kids does not give them any advantage over putting them in an environment with a diverse population that more closely resembles the real world. In fact having your kids interact respectfully with diverse populations from an early age gives them more of an advantage in preparing them for the real world than you might think. Don't be afraid of the environment and backgrounds of other kids.
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Do more "affluent" schools have less or more bad behaving students? Drugs, guns, etc?

Maybe thats a difference.
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Forgot to say, one advantage of putting your kids in a more rich area, or private school that's famous are the future connections they will get.

Like Upper Canada college, his classmate may become the next Premier or PM of Canada. Or a Justice of Peace, etc.

Connections is a big difference if you compare.
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howcome nobody talks about the big elephant in the room..............drugs and gangs..........isn't that the biggest problem in public schools these days?
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Jan 3, 2018
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I don't know because my kids are too young however from the 2 teachers that I know, in their schools, a big problem is mental illness. They have never spoken about drugs or gangs. Not sure about other schools.
apnayloags wrote:
Jul 15th, 2018 10:28 am
howcome nobody talks about the big elephant in the room..............drugs and gangs..........isn't that the biggest problem in public schools these days?
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apnayloags wrote:
Jul 15th, 2018 10:28 am
howcome nobody talks about the big elephant in the room..............drugs and gangs..........isn't that the biggest problem in public schools these days?
I think the media overplays the drugs and gang thing. Gangs in schools the 80s and 90s were much more prevalent than it is today. Drugs, there has always been pop smoking around. Some worse than others. I went to both Public and Catholic school in Toronto in the 90s, and funnily, it's the Catholic school that had more potheads (to stereotype, there were alot of Filipinos in Catholics schools and alot of them liked to smoke the weed. More hip hop culture). Drinking was huge back in the day too but that has gone down in today's high school kids.. along with teen pregnancy.
LivHorton wrote:
Jul 15th, 2018 11:30 am
I don't know because my kids are too young however from the 2 teachers that I know, in their schools, a big problem is mental illness. They have never spoken about drugs or gangs. Not sure about other schools.
Mental illness is huge today. A top school administrator said on the radio that ever since smart phones became prevalent, he noticed an exponential increase in mental illness/anxiety by students of all ages. That I think hits across all school boards irrespective of it being in Toronto, or the GTA, or others. Now in Private School, I think it involves and tries to engage the students more, plus it's known more elite private schools instill a certain confidence in their students so I would think it is relatively less common than public schools.
[OP]
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Oct 17, 2002
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Thought I'd chime in since I saw a few posts that may have went a bit sideways. I really didnt want this thread to turn into some sort of debate on race, religion, etc...

At the end of the day, as a first time parent, with absolutely no experience, the only rational thing that anyone can really do is rely on is the numbers/data. That’s why I started this thread. The only info I’ve seen are these school rankings, and there’s a direct correlation between the neighborhoods with good schools (basically affluent areas) and those with mediocre or poor rankings schools – which are in neighborhoods that are diverse, have lower average household incomes, etc… I understand that this can fully lead to a debate on race/religion, etc..., but the numbers are the numbers.

Now if these school rankings are bunk and nonsense, that’s good to hear. I'd just like to know why.
I've heard the response that surrounding your child around a diverse group of individuals can be very helpful. And I agree. So long as that diverse group of kids also have the right attitudes as well (which as statistics will tell you, is heavily dependent on the households they come from.. which again, as the numbers show, are correlated to household income/neighborhoods). From my experience in the real world, when you're building a team up for project work, surrounding yourself around like-minded people, and high achievers often results in the entire team outperforming vs. a team of one or two outstanding workers and bunch of underachievers and mediocre employees, which more than often results in the team bringing down those high achievers (rather than vice versa). I know... it's not rocket science, but environment, especially one where you'll spend the majority of your day, will have a massive influence on outcome.

Taking this example to school, you would rationalize, that if a classroom is full of children who strive for excellence... strive for perfection, this would/should result in higher test scores. And vice versa, that higher test scores should be the result of *good* children (not the right term, but hoping you guys get what I'm saying). Further extending this, poor test scores are likely the result of children not performing well (duh), and children not performing well are the result of the environment they're in.
This is why I use/used the test scores as a proxy. But if my reasoning is bunk, let me know.
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Nov 21, 2016
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KennyX wrote:
Jul 16th, 2018 8:40 am
Thought I'd chime in since I saw a few posts that may have went a bit sideways. I really didnt want this thread to turn into some sort of debate on race, religion, etc...

At the end of the day, as a first time parent, with absolutely no experience, the only rational thing that anyone can really do is rely on is the numbers/data. That’s why I started this thread. The only info I’ve seen are these school rankings, and there’s a direct correlation between the neighborhoods with good schools (basically affluent areas) and those with mediocre or poor rankings schools – which are in neighborhoods that are diverse, have lower average household incomes, etc… I understand that this can fully lead to a debate on race/religion, etc..., but the numbers are the numbers.

Now if these school rankings are bunk and nonsense, that’s good to hear. I'd just like to know why.
I've heard the response that surrounding your child around a diverse group of individuals can be very helpful. And I agree. So long as that diverse group of kids also have the right attitudes as well (which as statistics will tell you, is heavily dependent on the households they come from.. which again, as the numbers show, are correlated to household income/neighborhoods). From my experience in the real world, when you're building a team up for project work, surrounding yourself around like-minded people, and high achievers often results in the entire team outperforming vs. a team of one or two outstanding workers and bunch of underachievers and mediocre employees, which more than often results in the team bringing down those high achievers (rather than vice versa). I know... it's not rocket science, but environment, especially one where you'll spend the majority of your day, will have a massive influence on outcome.

Taking this example to school, you would rationalize, that if a classroom is full of children who strive for excellence... strive for perfection, this would/should result in higher test scores. And vice versa, that higher test scores should be the result of *good* children (not the right term, but hoping you guys get what I'm saying). Further extending this, poor test scores are likely the result of children not performing well (duh), and children not performing well are the result of the environment they're in.
This is why I use/used the test scores as a proxy. But if my reasoning is bunk, let me know.
Definitely agree with you OP. I am also in the same boat. Had a baby 5 months back, and was considering moving (Staying in a condo in downtown Toronto - so no good schools here for my pin code). So this aspect becomes a real important factor in deciding. I understand your intention and mine is the same as well. We want what is best for our kids, and being a person from Engineering background who is data driven, I would definitely revert to the numbers when I don't have any other trustworthy sources. And race or religion - thats not the primary criteria. If there is a good neighbourhood/school area, irrespective of the type of people, I would have more confidence in moving there.

Still researching on the area. There are certain areas where lots of people from my country are concentrated, which would be a nice thing for us. But good schooling areas are my main priority.
Newbie
Nov 9, 2008
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Toronto
I have a 2.5 year old son a 9 month old daughter. We live in a neighborhood in Scarbouogh with a 4/10 feeder school and a 2.8/10 secondary school.

I recently had to decide if the family should move or not.

I actually grew up in my current neighborhood. My dad had no money and could not move. But their money paid for my tutor and their love carried me through. I am now an accountant and I am making top 0.1% of income in that neighbourhood.

Although I made it, it was a very difficult experience for me. Very few students were motivated. People from my tutoring classes in Richmomd Hill and other kids from church who cared about school kept me motivated.

In the end, I decided to sell and move to Markham with a top ranking feeder school and secondary school. From my experience, what is most important is investing time and love in your kids. If it is within your financial means to move to a top ranking school, it cannot hurt to provide that experience to your kids.
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Jan 16, 2007
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Toronto
s7yl3 wrote:
Jul 16th, 2018 7:14 pm
I have a 2.5 year old son a 9 month old daughter. We live in a neighborhood in Scarbouogh with a 4/10 feeder school and a 2.8/10 secondary school.

I recently had to decide if the family should move or not.

I actually grew up in my current neighborhood. My dad had no money and could not move. But their money paid for my tutor and their love carried me through. I am now an accountant and I am making top 0.1% of income in that neighbourhood.

Although I made it, it was a very difficult experience for me. Very few students were motivated. People from my tutoring classes in Richmomd Hill and other kids from church who cared about school kept me motivated.

In the end, I decided to sell and move to Markham with a top ranking feeder school and secondary school. From my experience, what is most important is investing time and love in your kids. If it is within your financial means to move to a top ranking school, it cannot hurt to provide that experience to your kids.
As a note, when I moved into my new home a few years back and went to sign up for the highly ranked high school for my daughter, the guidance person asked me which home I'm renting, since my daughter was not from one of the feeder schools. They assumed that I'm renting a home in the neighborhood just to get into that school. I said I'm the home owner.

I supposed renting is a common practice, for those without the means for owning. In walking about the neighborhood, I now realize why many homes in my neighborhood are for lease and not for sale.
Penalty Box
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Jan 6, 2011
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What could be the underlying econ driver for ranking, experience and achievement? I'd say it's parental social econ/resources and competitiveness aka drive. And diversity and volume of activity in the neighborhood certainly contributes to idea exchange thus competitiveness. Thus I'd prefer the exposure to other parents who shares similar values, and diversity, never wealth.

I'd say certainly avoid the high schools with bad rankings, and among the highly ranked schools, just pick one that fit the actual needs. The ranking itself fluctuates but certainly the school's operation doesn't fluctuate that much year over year. There are also rankings that jumped in consecutive years, partially because of gentrification of older neighborhoods.

TDSB used many measures to ensure equal opportunity of schools, but outcomes certainly varied by boundary as well as time. Look up scoring during 08/09, many top schools' ranking took a dive. What explains? was EQOA difficulty equity-linked?

Meanwhile the NDP leader was naive to think removing EQOA would ensure higher average achievement....
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Nov 13, 2013
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Kiraly wrote:
Jul 12th, 2018 1:14 pm
School rankings are bunk. Lower test scores that result in lower school rankings do not mean your kid's achievement will be dragged down compared to going to a school where the averages are higher. That's a myth. Putting your kids in a school with a bunch of other rich white kids does not give them any advantage over putting them in an environment with a diverse population that more closely resembles the real world. In fact having your kids interact respectfully with diverse populations from an early age gives them more of an advantage in preparing them for the real world than you might think. Don't be afraid of the environment and backgrounds of other kids.
I agree diversity is great and affluence is not essential. There are working class communities where education is important, respected and encouraged and then there are other neighbourhoods. Yes your kid can excel in any school but if most of the kids have no interest in learning your kid will be held back.
The scores are not perfect but they give a good indication if the school is failing or doing well.
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Jan 2, 2015
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I can’t speak for Toronto specifically, but can talk about private vs public and rankings at least in my city out west. We also use Fraser institute rankings and provincial rankings.

Some of my closest friends are educators and one was and educator then became a researcher for factors that increase at risk behaviours, ei drugs, gangs, prominscuity.

This will be long and random. Some tend to be very common sense, but that sense seems to be less common

Social economics is just one influencers. The social economics is often a result of many other factors.
Children with parents whom have a post secondary degree are more likely to obtain higher education and take education more seriously.
The exception is immigrant families where the culture highly values education, kids will do well there too.
Parents who are more involved in their children’s edcucations will do better. This could mean having the time to volunteer, helping with homework, tutors, ect. This may tie to social economics as parents that are working all the time to make ends meet may not be able to take time off work or too busy to help.
Parents in more affluent neighbourhoods do tend to donate more money. This does make a differgood Nyce, but also look at the community of the school, and the parent council.

Rankings are influenced by numerous things too. Language schools tend to do worst because they are learning another language and testing is in English. Ironically, in our language school there are more gifted kids than most schools.
Some schools tend to ‘teach’ to the standardized test. This is not necessarily a reflection of learning but rather the school finds he ranking more important. Same with self selection of bright students, this is more true in private schools. The topped ranked private school in our area has kicked kids our for being too low. I had one of my friends told that her 4 years should are some private lessons in colouring because it wasn’t up to standard,
The top ranked publis school in our city is for the gifted, that makes sense. However, I know of more than one family that ‘turned’ their kids gifted by having em study for the exams and take classes for the gifted testing. As a result they got in, but their kids struggled because they weren’t naturally gifted and were also stressed about not being as good.
Rankings are only as good as understanding the ranking. That being said, if the rankings were awful, I would investigate why.

Drugs happen in both private and public, they are just higher end at the private. There is a ton of vaping that goes on in all schools. Also in private schools, parents tend to be more in denial that there kids would do them. My principal friend told me she brought in parents of kids caught in a vaping ring (very affluent school) and the parents wouldn’t believe it. Then justified it as it was electronic and no real smoke so that was okay.
Kids are also pretty stressed out in the private schools as they seem to have a higher expectation to achieve. This comes out in drugs, and mental health issues. Everyone seems perfect from both the parents and kids.

In terms of gangs, at last in my city, that does seem to be tied to the area and social economics. I would pay to live in a nicer area not to be near gangs. That seems t be in a certain area of my city,

My point is, if you are in a generally safe and good area of town, the schools should be okay whether they are privately or public. What is important is finding a good fit of school that meets your values and is a good fit for your child. We bought a house backing a top rating elementary which was walking distance without crossing the street. Neither my kids went Neutral Face. This was cause we found this had quirky learning needs and needed something more than what the school could offer. We also had our kids on the wait list for a top charter school. We also realized that it was not the right fit as the philosophy did not match with our parenting views and more importantly our kids learning styles.

Take the time to check out the differen schools. Also see how long the administration and teachers are around for. Schools where everyone is leaving is a bad sign.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it brothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
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Here's an article confirming what I said earlier. Violence, anti-social behaviour is way down over 20 years. I went to highs school in the 90s, and looking at it now, there were plenty of trouble during them days. The more important factor is the parent and their genuine engagement with their child.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ ... -1.4760685

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