Recent studies have found a large learning gap among children in elementary schools, starting as early as Grade 3 in some cases. While children of all backgrounds can certaintly succeed, the study revealed the gap mainly affects students living in poverty or coming from ethnic backgrounds. What does this mean?
The current curriculum and education system is failing kids in communities plagued by poverty, including those in Scarborough.
Black, Middle Eastern and Latin American kids in Grade 3 are reading below the provincial standard. The African Canadian community has a drop-out rate of 40 per cent, a very disturbing fact. If some of them were failing at the age of eight, what would be their motivation to continue on to post-secondary education?
After a huge outcry from the African Canadian community, the Ontario government attempted to alleviate the problem by introducing Africentric schools.
An Africentric school is not a segregated school – it’s a school that tailors curriculum to assist students in learning by including contributions of culture in all subjects. This is beneficial to all children, showing them many cultures have contributed to the building of this country and have made significant contributions in all subjects. The fact that some of the faculty look like them is a bonus as it allows them to see a positive image of achievement as opposed to the negative that’s seemingly pervasive in the media.
The fact that it took this long for the idea of Africentric schools is odd. So is the fact that this is the first study of its kind.
The answer is simple: Change the curriculum, so the curriculum is inclusive for the students and reflects our diverse and changing community.