Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Non-English Speaking Households and Education

Posted by chinesecanuck on February 10, 2009

Something I discovered which I find interesting:

Toronto high schools known primarily as academic institutions have more students which speak non-English languages at home than more “general” schools or schools with technical programs.  For example, 39% of students at North Toronto Collegiate Institute speak a language other than English at home.  However, at nearby Northern Secondary, a school which has a tehcnical program, only 24% speak another language.  Both schools serve relatively the same area.  Further into the city, we have Jarvis Collegiate and Central Tech.  At Jarvis, 74% speak another language at home, while only 56% of students at Central Tech do. 

According to profs I had in graduate school, the opposite would have been the case just a few decades ago.  Academic-based, public preparatory schools like Jarvis and North Toronto would have seen multi-generational middle to upper middle class, Anglo students, while the technical programs would have been in more blue collar, immigrant neighbourhoods (though Northern might be an exception – it’s also more “academic” than other technical schools, which is probably why it’s Northern SECONDARY rather than Northern TECH)

Readers, do you think this has to do with immigrants to Toronto and how they view education?  What’s it like in other cities?  Does it have to do with which countries immigrants come from?

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One Response to “Non-English Speaking Households and Education”

  1. I’ve never been to Toronto so I can’t speculate.
    But here in the U.S. ….
    The Central and Southern American (illegal) immigrants are usually from the poorer regions of their country – coming here to seek low-paying jobs. The families are generally worse educated to begin with than those who have to go through a sceening process of legal immigration.
    Since those who qualify to become citizens or legal residents are usually from a pool of the better educated classes – their children would probably do better in school.

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