Grade 9 streaming and early years suspensions to end

Castlebrooke Secondary School. Source: Brampton Focus File Photo (2020)

The Ministry of Education has made major changes to the education system. Starting in September 2021, the province plans to end academic streaming in Grade 9, beginning with math courses. A bill has also been introduced to ban suspensions for students in Grade 3 or younger for “non-serious offences.” If passed, the bill could come into effect as early as this September.

Streaming requires students to pursue either an “applied” or “academic” educational stream when they enter high school. Applied classes take a hands-on approach, leading to college/workplace pathways, whereas academic classes are more theory-based, and usually lead to university studies. 

This practice has shown to negatively impact graduation rates and chances of attending a post-secondary institution for Black and low-income students. Investigations conducted by Professor Carl James (York University) and People for Education reveal that these groups were more likely to take applied classes, with Black students being twice as likely to be enrolled in the applied program than students from other racial backgrounds. 

The Ontario government will also ban suspensions for students from junior kindergarten through Grade 3. The report by James discloses that 42% of Black students in GTA school boards have been suspended at least once by the time they graduate high school. 

Edited by Ananya Jaikumar 

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