Facebook Logo twitter logo

Understanding OSSTF/FEESO’s position on de-streaming

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) supports de-streaming in Ontario because this change represents an opportunity to enhance the quality of education for all Grade 9 students in secondary schools across the province. Research shows that, when properly implemented and fully resourced, de-streaming can positively affect student learning and narrow gaps in student achievement, especially for marginalized students.

OSSTF/FEESO policies on de-streaming were passed at the Annual Meeting of the Provincial Assembly (AMPA) 2021. For de-streaming to be effective, it must be fully funded. OSSTF/FEESO believes that:

  • there must be communication and consultation between the Ministry of Education, OSSTF/FEESO, the school boards and Black, Indigenous, and racialized students, as well as students living with disabilities and in low-income situations in all matters related to de-streaming;
  • recommendations to help with the success of de-streaming need to be evidence-based;
  • there must be a commitment by the Ministry of Education to further investigate the teaching, learning, and curriculum studies required to determine more specific and effective instruction methods that would support a de-streamed learning environment;
  • the Ministry of Education needs to create specific programming to serve and support student needs;
  • school boards must be held accountable through collecting and communicating disaggregated student achievement data on de-streaming;
  • any new curriculum developed for de-streaming needs to provide clear assessment benchmarks and guidance for teachers and education workers;
  • class sizes for de-streamed classes must be kept small;
  • the government must provide appropriate funding to support any de-streaming initiatives;
  • teachers and education workers need to be provided with appropriate training and access to additional resources prior to the implementation of de-streamed classrooms.

To date, the government has remained silent on if or how they will provide the resources and funding necessary for successful implementation of de-streaming in Grade 9. The benefits of de-streaming can only be achieved when the required supports are in place.

OSSTF/FEESO has taken action with respect to the Ministry of Education’s pursuit of de-streaming over the past number of years. These actions include requesting information from the Ministry of Education, research on de-streaming implementation, and literature reviews.

Research shows that streaming has a tendency to exacerbate inequality between students. In addition, students in lower streams are likely to be disadvantaged in the quality of learning they receive.

De-streaming initiatives need to be implemented alongside educator training, the development and delivery of high-quality curriculum, a re-evaluation of school culture, open communication of all stakeholders involved, additional resources and time for educators and students to complete curriculum, and continuous monitoring of student outcomes. In order to foster and maximize equality of opportunity for all students, de-streaming initiatives should be viewed as an ongoing process, adjusting to the needs of students, teachers and education workers on a continuous basis.

OSSTF/FEESO will continue to pressure the government to implement a fully-funded, well-resourced de-streaming program. This is an important and necessary change in Ontario schools, but it will only be successful if the government takes into account the needs and interests of all students, teachers, and education workers.

Despite our repeated requests for information on de-streaming from the provincial government, OSSTF/FEESO, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and the other education affiliates did not receive details regarding the Ministry’s plans for the immediate expansion of de-streaming for 2022–2023.

OSSTF/FEESO will continue to update members on any new developments.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.