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2267B Reflection

Critical Reflection Assignment: School Streaming & Tracking
Hasnat Gondal
Kings University College at Western University
SOC 2267B
D. Kudla
A news report led by York University professor Carl James found that a large number of
black students are being flooded into applied instead of academic programs and their suspension
rates are much higher than their counterparts in Toronto (Draaisma 2017). In the article, it
dictates that 53% of black students were enrolled in academic level programs compared to 81%
of white students (Draaisma 2017). The report also indicated that 42% of all black students had
been suspended at least once by the time they graduate high school (Draaisma 2017). Black
students face an opportunity gap in Toronto schools, based on the data from the report (Draaisma
2017). Black students continue to be directed towards essential and applied programs,
confirming the discrimination bias still exits. The suspension rates for black students are also on
the rise, and an alternate form of discipline needs to be implemented. To improve the efforts of
the educational system, will require an immense amount of energy by the school boards,
teachers, parents and collaboration with community members. The report also urges the Ontario
education ministry to apply a race equity lens. We require them to acknowledge the fact that
anti-racism negatively affects the learning ability and educational outcome of black students
(Draaisma 2017).
Racial discrimination at an academic establishment will tarnish the students’ innate
ability for achievement that they are envisioned to reach. With this systematic bias present in the
educational system, deliberately targeting black students, it allows the lesser treatment of these
students to be accepted and not viewed as a contrary ideology. Although the suspension rates can
be justified by labeling these black students as delinquents, it still does not account for the
recognizable gap between white students that equates to leniency towards them. This issue needs
to be approached from a constructivist standpoint, to tackle the more significant social problem
at hand. The development of humans relies on societal practices and beliefs; thus, it allows us to
understand that racism is a socially constructed phenomenon, having no actual meaning or
significance. The black students in Toronto schools are targeted and categorized based on a
socially constructed ideology that is limiting their academic goals.
The black students being streamlined into applied courses by the school systems and
having unjustified high rates of suspensions can be critiqued using strain and subculture theory
as discussed in our lecture (Kudla 2019). To further support the legitimacy of the discrimination,
there is a culture of racism present in Canada surrounding the black community. Racial profiling
is prominent in the police community towards young black individuals. This negative
phenomenon is now transferring itself into the school system. These students are not bound for
university not because they are inclined towards delinquency but because they are deliberately
enrolled in applied programs, unable to take a chance and achieve the university level academic
standard. The feeling of injustice plays a crucial factor in the academic success rate of these
black students. Without the opportunity for academic success, and boundaries deliberately put in
their way, it is difficult for these black students to achieve what they desire out of their
education. In the lecture, it describes the situation of black youth in Toronto and how they are
not adequately acknowledged in the school system. In the article, it confirms this stigmatization
of black youth in Toronto by providing an insight into the actions of the schools.
The incident in the article can be critiqued by applying Albert Cohen's subculture theory,
specifically relating to the lecture on Organization of Learning. This theory properly critiques the
practices of the school boards regarding the discrimination faced by black students. The school
system streamlines these black students into applied programs because of the persistent issue of
systematic bias still being present in our modern institutions today. Discrimination against black
individuals in the school system is not a new occurrence. There have been numerous cases in our
school system and the United States, that result in black students facing heavy criticism and
targeting because of their race. In the lecture, we also discussed stop and frisk policies that allow
police to stop individuals from suspicion for questioning, and black individuals were among
those that were stopped the majority of the time all the time. Stop, and frisk is a questionable
practice because it allows police officers to practice either differential selection or differential
involvement based on their personal choice. It is an unsafe practice because it leaves room for
unjustified discrimination. Black students are often streamlined and mistreated in the academic
world due to the stigma regarding their environment. Having a lower socio-economic status
automatically puts them in a partial view in the eyes of the administration with the thought of
less hope being there for these students. In the lecture, we talked about the stats relating to black
youth and school. It is a common theme among schools across Ontario to have black students
that are not acknowledged in the school system by their teachers. Without the presence of
guidance, the dropout rates of premature black students in Toronto climbed to a staggering 40%
(Kudla 2019). Teachers have low expectations and a lack of respect for these kids which leads to
unequal treatment. We can see that there is a culture of mistreatment present from the beginning
against black students. These youths have strong racial identities that are not accepted by
teachers that have a closed perception (Kudla 2019).
Judging by the systematic discrimination streamlined in the academic community that is
still present today, we can conclude that there needs to be a change implemented to black
students at the bare minimum receive equal educational opportunities. Without equal
opportunities presented, a lack of guidance, and discrimination, black students will continue to
fall into the legal system and add on the list of statistics. The lack of opportunities creates a
feeling of strain in the minds of these youths, which ultimately creates offenders that become
repeat offenders. To correctly implementing a working solution, the acceptance of black youth
culture needs to be forcefully implemented into the academic system. For society to progress,
there needs to be a change in mentality that is collectively accepted. Racism is not a physical
characteristic and never will be; it is the unjust hateful discrimination against one race based on
stigmatization that has been normalized. The way the school systems in Toronto deal with black
youth is unacceptable, limiting their growth and promoting a future of crime. These individuals
should be allowed to become intellectual products of the quaternary industry. Solutions for future
change need to be implemented now, so they slowly allow societal change to occur.
Draaisma, Muriel. 2017. Black students in Toronto streamed into courses below their ability,
report finds. April 24. Accessed March 15, 2019.
Kudla, Daniel. 2019. Delinquency and Race/Ethnicity - Lecture 5 . London, March 16.