In Toronto, where income inequality is highest, wealth and test scores at Canada’s largest school board are correlated. A Globe and Mail analysis, based on data obtained from the Education Quality and Accountability Office and 2010 income data from Statistics Canada, shows this divergence quite clearly. High-scoring elementary schools are primarily concentrated in high-income areas and vice-versa. In lower-income neighbourhoods, a higher percentage of students fail the reading, writing and math tests.
When it comes to gifted students, nearly 60 per cent came from the three highest income deciles, according to a 2010 TDSB study. Fully a quarter came from the very highest income group, and only 11 per cent were from the three lowest deciles.
The study also found that those kids identified with a language impairment or a developmental disability were more likely to come from lower-income neighbourhoods. Those disadvantages intensify through their schooling: Kids from low-income families also have a higher likelihood of taking applied courses in high school, leaving them less likely to graduate or attend university or college.
“Kids are already coming into school at a disadvantage and that disadvantage appears to grow over time, rather than lessen,” said Annie Kidder, executive director of the advocacy group People for Education.
Well-educated, high-income parents expect a lot from their schools and put pressure on teachers to perform. If those parents are absent, who is holding teachers accountable? Two years ago, Florida passed a bill to reward teachers for rising test scores, one of the key measures advocated by former governor Jeb Bush. Would merit pay for Canadian teachers help close the achievement gap? Progressive Conservative education critic Rob Leone said it’s worth discussing. “All options have to be on the table because what we need to do is ensure that our kids are succeeding,” he said
Font: A tale of two schools: The correlation between income and education in Toronto – The Globe and Mail.