Friday, January 28, 2011

Is Is Just Me, Or Is This A Really Bad Idea?

Apparently, the Niagara Board of Education passed a vote to open the first low-income school on Tuesday night.

"Named the DSBN Academy, the school will be located temporarily at Empire School in Welland -- slated for closure in June -- although long-term plans for the school are to house it at either a Niagara College or Brock University campus.

With a focus on removing the poverty barrier that prevents students from obtaining their post-secondary education, the school will be the only one of its kind in Ontario.

The post-secondary prep school would offer a single-track curriculum of advanced courses to accelerate academic achievement for students from low-income homes. Plans for the school include an extended-day program from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., as well as breakfast and lunch programs, before-and after-school programs, and supports such as tutoring available on site. Upon entrance, each student is assigned to a teacher-adviser who will support them until they graduate."*

I think that the ideas for the programs they plan to run are sound; I have to question the implementation though. Is there really no way that they could offer these programs within currently existing schools? Does the board not realise that they will be stigmatising these kids? They will be marked, and feel marked, as the kids that go to "the poor school".

I would also like to know how this plan is "removing the poverty barrier that prevents students from obtaining their post-secondary education". Did I miss the part where they pay for University?

When I was growing up, we didn't have a lot of money. There were three kids in my family, my dad was going to school himself and my mum usually had more than one job. My mum made just enough money that even though we sometimes needed it, we didn't qualify for any kind of extra help. I wouldn't have even qualified to go to this school, though, because both of my parents attended University.

I am all for helping people who may be at a disadvantage, but I don't agree that this is the way to do it. This feels less like "helping" and more like a giant sociology project.

While I'm at it, can someone please explain to me why segregating by income level is any better than segregating by ethnicity?

*Full article in the St Catharines Standard


  1. I don't understand this at all. Did you read the comments on the article? Soooo many people think this ridiculous! What does a parents income level or their (lack of) post-secondary education have to do with where their child goes to school? Won't kids resent their parents for having to go to the "poor" school? Why not just fund before school and after school programs at regular public schools? Why do they have to build a whole new school? Everything about this sounds like a bad idea.

  2. The plan at the moment is to use a school that was slated for closure anyway; they're going to move it to (I believe, I'll have to double check) the Brock campus later, so they're not actually building a new building.

    You do actually have to apply to go the school.. I wonder how they're going to make you prove your parents' income and education level? And what 10 year old kid is going to want to apply?

    That's my whole point, really... I think that these programs should be implemented at regular schools where it wouldn't be so ostracising to take part. I think that this was decided by a committee of people who probably never had to face this kind of thing themselves.

    And there are schools that are already located in lower income neighbourhoods; why can't they focus on those schools and benefit a lot more kids??

    This whole thing is making me crazy.