How much say should a parent have in their child’s public education?
In the latest attempt to specialize and diversify schooling in the GTA, the Toronto District School Board is introducing new specialized academies to nine elementary and middle schools in the GTA this fall.
These academies will follow the Ontario curriculum, but will specialize in a specific field. Parents can pick and choose between vocal music, sports and wellness, or health and wellness. Oh, and of course, there is the option of sending your child to one of the new all girls or all boys schools.
It’s reminiscent of high school, where students can pick and choose their classes to tailor their education to their interests. But a high school student is old enough to know to have an idea of what they are interested in doing.
By introducing specialization into elementary schools, it leaves it to the parents to pick and choose what they want their child to learn from the very beginning of their education. What parent doesn’t have an idea in their mind of what they want their child to learn and to excel at?
If a parent wants their child to be musical, they sign them up for piano lessons. If they want them to be active, they sign them up for a sports team. But by specializing schooling, Toronto has invited parents to have a say in what is normally an autonomous influence in their child’s life.
This specialization is another level of segregation in GTA schooling where boys only, girls only, and Afro-centric schools have split a multicultural, diverse student population into groups not representative of the world they will emerge into when their schooling is completed.