Immigration, Assimilation, Ethnicity and All That Jazz

Archive for February, 2009

Immigration and Education based on TDSB stats

Posted by chinesecanuck on February 28, 2009

The Toronto District School Board just released stats on elementary (kindergarten to Grade 6) students based on their background (ethnic and socio-economic) in hopes that kids who’re most in need.  Questions asked included the family’s ethnicity (both the child’s and his/her parents), family education level, expectations of the child, income, etc…and results of each question was shown on a chart.  While some of the questions were typical, there was one that bothered me, one which asked whether the parent(s) were born in Canada or not.  What bothered me wasn’t the question itself, but it didn’t seem to ask WHEN the parent came.  It makes a BIG difference.  I know several people who were born abroad, but came to Canada as elementary school aged kids.  Since they were so young, they learned English relatively quickly and sound no different than anyone born and raised here.  Unlike 2009, young immigrants (as in elementary school aged)  and non-English speaking Canadian born children were able to learn English at a much quicker pace in the 70s and 80s than today, since they were less likely to live in areas with larger populations of people who speak other languages.   But anyway…

The results weren’t surprising.  Children from lower income families and/or from families of certain ethnicities did poorer in school than others.    While parents  all had high expectations of their children, many more children did not meet the provincial standard in tests.  Other interesting points:  White families seemed to value sports more than non-white parents.  73% of kids with white parents participated in sports outside of school, while East Asians parents were more likely to send their children to arts-related activities (48%) than other groups.   South Asians and blacks were more likely to participate in religiously related activities at 45% and 44% respectively.  And while Asian students tend to do well, their parents are much less likely to participate in parent-teacher interviews.  Perhaps it culturally related – in many cultures, parents only see teachers if their child is in trouble.  I realize the results sound somewhat stereotypical, but that’s what was sent in.  What do you think?

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“Real” Chinese food poll

Posted by chinesecanuck on February 12, 2009

Since many people argue that foods like beef and brocolli or sweet and sour pork/chicken aren’t “real” Chinese foods, because they were “invented” in the west, what about foods found at restaurants in Hong Kong which use non-Chinese ingredients?  Are those foods real?  In other words, are egg custard tarts (sweet, egg based custard in tartlet shells – very popular at dim sum), Hong Kong style milk tea (strong black tea with condensed/evaporated milk), yeen-yeung (half coffee, half HK style milk tea), etc “real”?  

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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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