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Open Access The Toronto District School Board: A global city school system's structures, processes, and student outcomes

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In this article we describe the ways that academic opportunity is distributed within the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Canada’s largest and most demographically diverse public education system. By putting a range of recent outcome data into historical, organizational, and policy contexts, we provide a snapshot of how one of North America's largest school systems works in ways that simultaneously reinforce, and challenge, patterns of academic stratification. Although schooling in some global cities is shaped by decentralization, competition, and a 'school reform industry', public education in Toronto is very much characterized by centralization and increased public investment. Therefore, this paper queries whether these larger historical and structural factors lead to greater equity for racialized and minoritized communities. Through the infusion of equity-focused policies and anti-discrimination-centred interventions, can the case be made that marginalized groups are navigating the school system with greater success? Reviewing historical and recent data from the Toronto Board of Education and TDSB, we reflect on and query the extent of disparity that continues to exist, problematizing the disconnect between policy and addressing the root causes of inequality.
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Keywords: ACADEMIC STRATIFICATION; GLOBAL CITIES; STREAMING; TORONTO; TRACKING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2016

More about this publication?
  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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