15 year olds are asked to have their future all laid out (Because we all know what the fuck we’re doing, right?)

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Image from Catster

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pick now!

Recently, The Toronto Star published an article called, Low-income ‘streaming’ in Ontario high school alive and well, report says.

Streaming was a process where students were separated into groups or, streams. Lower streams comprised of low-income families, recent immigrants and minority groups. White, middle-class (The reference to a middle-class emphasizes this was in the past) made up the higher streams.

In 1999, when I started high school, streaming was said to be gone after several studies proved the method was doing more harm than good. Now, students choose what ability level they want to take for each class. The arts and health are open but math, English, French, science, history and geography are divided into applied, academic or locally developed. The French Immersion program differs slightly. Locally developed courses can be described here. There is a pre-conceived notion among not just students but our society that Applied classes are easier.

Theoretically, this way a student can choose a class they feel matches their ability level and teachers can plan their lessons and collect educational resources accordingly. However, if a student or their support/peer system (if they have one) doesn’t recognize the student’s true potential, they may choose and applied class. The problem with this is, applied credits can hinder their future post-secondary and career wise in the long run. Quite the decision for a kid to make, a lot of pressure.

People for Education released The Trouble with Course Choices in Ontario High Schools.

“This report shows that students taking applied courses have a reduced chance of graduating from high school. It also shows that, worryingly, the schools where a large proportion of students take applied courses are most likely to have lower average family incomes and lower levels of parental education.”

I’m not a fan of the current education system but I am in no spot currently to suggest another method. What I do know is kids need to really understand the impact of their classroom choices. It’s already absurd to expect our children, at fourteen, fifteen, to make decisions that will impact them for life. However, it is their choice, let’s help them realize what is actually best for them.

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