"Equity" comes to schools in Vancouver

No it isn’t. The article says they are getting rid of honours classes in favour of a system when everyone is in the same classroom, and that they are doing it when it is too late for kids to switch to other options. Where did you get the idea that it’s about going from 3 tiers to two?

There are still AP classes – so, regular and AP classes.

I don’t see any mention that AP classes even exist at those schools. People have been replying on the basis of what the article says:

The school board says teachers will instead be encouraged to teach to individual students’ capabilities, including those who excel at math and science.

It’s quite misleading to imply otherwise.

From the CBC article:

The school board said mini schools are still an option, and advanced placement courses will be offered for students looking for more challenging coursework.

It looks like the ‘Honours’ courses were offered to younger ages, while AP courses are for those in 11th or 12th grade. It’s not like there were 3 different ‘levels’ to choose from.

I have no idea why they think ‘mini-schools’ are equitable and honours courses not, but who can understand the logic of bureaucrats?

I don’t know how it works in Canada. In my kids’ school, they could take AP classes starting in 9th grade, I believe, and 10th grade for sure.

The misunderstanding seems to continue, as long as one ignores also that one factor is that fewer students were using the gifted program. What it needs to be done is to pressure the bureaucrats to fund the schools properly to make the changes good for the students. As noted, it has not been a 100% removal of the program or the opportunities for gifted students. As it is usually the argument that is made when the OP cuts and paste the spin from right wing sources of information.

Yeah, someday the actual situation will match what the right-wing bullshit source has claimed. I imagine that, over some nearly infinite time, the probability that a right wing source is accurate on some social justice matter must approach 1, right? Any mathematicians want to speak up?

That doesn’t sound correct. In US schools (and I can’t imagine Canada would be much different), AP courses are for those who have the prerequisites. For AP Calculus (AB or BC), this almost certainly means having algebra at a minimum.

In general, this will limit participants to 11th or 12th grade simply by virtue of preparedness, but it is common for younger students to take AP courses in subjects that do not require as much in terms of prerequisite course work.

AP American History, for example, is one that can be taken earlier. On the other hand, there are two different AP Physics tracks, one that is algebra based and one that is calculus based - the calculus based class is overwhelmingly more likely to be filled with juniors or seniors. Likewise, there are two different AP Computer Science courses, one that is more of an introductory course in general computing that anybody could take and one that is more of a programming course that may need more experience.

I only looked at the maths course structure, so AP courses in other subjects could easily be doable at younger ages.

So, anyway, two tiers, regular and AP.

Is the Globe and Mail a ‘right-wing bullshit source’, then? I can’t say I know the political affiliation of random foreign newspapers.

Actually, I have no idea. I don’t even know what their take was – it looks like they were just reporting on the facts. It was the OP’s take that was right-wing bullshit, I guess.

Since this is the Pit…and it’s Vancouver

Fuck you Vancouver - Sincerely, the rest of British Columbia

I did a quick check:

"They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by appealing to emotion or stereotypes) to favor conservative causes.

Factual Reporting: HIGH
Country: Canada (14/180 Press Freedom)
Media Type: Newspaper
Traffic/Popularity: High Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: HIGH CREDIBILITY"

It has changed, but Ontario secondary schools used to offer basic, general, advanced and enriched streams in addition to a gifted program in grades nine and ten. There also used to be a Grade 13, and six academic credits from this level were required for university.

In bigger cities, there were schools which emphasized the creative arts and vocational training. Trades are often lucrative and rewarding careers and some attempts have been made to destigmatize them. This gifted program did not seem that great to me. Most students at my school took advanced courses. The enriched courses were not really very different, and were only offered in some core subjects.

This has all likely changed as Ontario schools changed from thirteen grades to twelve. The curriculum used to be very good and it is fair to say a number of the Grade 13 courses were almost at a university level.

Depends to a large extent on how the teacher handles it. Like probably most other Dopers, I too spent most of my pre-college education as the “smartest kid in the class” in a non-“streamed” mix of students of varying ability levels, where the pace of instruction was almost always too slow for me.

But I was very fortunate in having teachers (and this was mostly in ordinary US semi-rural public schools, mind you) who had ways of keeping higher-achieving students occupied. Sometimes by just letting us read for pleasure or “work ahead” if we’d finished our assigned work early, sometimes by having us do a little informal tutoring of classmates (or merely not interfering if a classmate spontaneously asked us what a word meant, for example), sometimes by asking us offbeat questions in class that made us think or gave us a chance to be wrong. And always, IIRC, by never treating lower-achieving students with disdain or contempt, and never encouraging us to laugh at their slowness or mistakes.

But my public school districts in '70s semi-rural America were still conscious of—heck, in some cases still partly run by people who’d had personal experience of—the American “one-room schoolhouse” tradition. There was still a lingering institutional culture of expectation that teachers HAD to be able to cope with a wide variety of student skill levels simultaneously.

I can see how the educational experience would be very different with teachers who had just one pre-set instructional routine that was applied uniformly to all the students in the class. Sure, if you’re never allowed to do anything except what all the other students are doing, even if you can do it significantly faster, you’re going to spend a lot of time with nothing to do but be bored. But ISTM that’s a problem with the teacher’s one-size-fits-all instructional routine, not with the nature of a mixed-ability classroom per se.

I had a variety of teachers; some were keen and made an effort, some were just going through the motions waiting for retirement. The bad ones barely made an effort to teach: “turn to page 94 in the text book, read it and answer the questions.” was their style of ‘teaching’. The good ones taught and made the subject interesting and went round the class answering questions. But there was no plan for kids who finished the work early. And sure, it’s less of a problem in some subjects than others. I learnt a decent amount from reading the text books in history and science (in history the books also covered subjects we weren’t being taught, like the French Revolution and the Islamic world, so if you were sneaky you could learn extra stuff). But this works far less well in maths.

UK state education is very anti-elitist in philosophy, so there is a certain amount of resistance to dividing kids up by ability or providing any kind of special teaching or programs for ‘gifted’ kids. It’s alarming to see the US heading in the same direction. It’s not like this change is happening because they have done studies and found the mixed-ability classroom works better. Every time, the driver for change is ‘equity’, and that makes me pessimistic about how well these changes will be implemented.

It should go without saying that that should never happen. I hope any teacher who did this would be fired.

Can’t have that, that’s akin to slavery, didn’t you know?

This is similar to the Apartheid education system I was schooled under - Coloured schools were underfunded and overcrowded, but we had great teachers who saw to it the talented were nurtured. One maths PhD and one physics PhD came out of my “gutter education” high school class, never mind the several other science, engineering, medicine and maths grads like me…with no honours class to help us. We helped each other, though.

We did have a motto at school, in the 80s.: “Each one, teach one”. Which phrase, ironically enough, originated with American slaves, although we didn’t know this at the time.

Ha ha! Oh, now disdain and contempt should never happen? But in this thread, it’s been just peachy.