Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Province to Collect Data on Kids

Posted by chinesecanuck on May 1, 2008

In an article published in the Toronto Star’s Parent Central  site today, Ontario is apparently going to be collecting race data on elementary and high school students (the Toronto District School Board is already doing this), likely to close gaps between education standards.  According to the article, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Jamaican, Somali and aboriginal students are the most likely to drop out of school.  Is this a good idea?  Would collecting ethnicity (and it’s more ethnicity than race) information really better inform educators?  What about class?  In Toronto, at least, Vietnamese, Portuguese, etc are more likely to be from lower-income neighbourhoods.  Would it be more or less sensitive to track by the first three characters of one’s postal code?  Or would that only work in more urban areas (more people=more postal codes.  The City of Toronto, for example, has M__ ___ all to itself, while the first character in the surrounding Toronto suburbs is an L)?  In Toronto, even the first two characters can tell a lot.  M4 usually means that the schools in your area are excellent and that the high schools have a 90+% university matriculation rate. 

Also, why would collecting race help?  Do kids from different ethnicities really learn differently (I know that different cultures have different teaching philosophies, but it isn’t really the same thing – immigrant kids from China still excel when they come here)?  Why are Vietnamese kids dropping out at such a high rate, while students of other Asian cultures not?  Or is it parental influence?  Should they do a study on the amount of education the parents have?  Chances are, you’ll find that kids with parents who have at least a bachelor’s degree aren’t likely to drop out.

What do you think?

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One Response to “Province to Collect Data on Kids”

  1. I love data. Data is good.

    Yes, kids from different ethnicities do learn differently, although it probably has less to do with culture than with class. Unfortunately, your country of origin has an influence on your class.

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