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High school students and their parents in York Region, Ontario, have been fighting to reinstate a cancelled math course that was a casualty of the province’s de-streaming efforts. 

While the aim of de-streaming was to expand students’ educational options, data showing increased failure rates suggest that the change may be having the opposite effect.

The system “has to be equitable… But my son Sam, what’s the equity there?” says Melissa Bergeron. Bergeron’s 15-year-old son Sam floundered last year after the York Region District School Board cancelled applied math, forcing all students into the academic stream. Sam will now have to take a locally developed math course if he wants to graduate. 

“Locally developed, that's his only choice. Locally developed means that his options for post secondary, anything that would require math [credit], is out,” Bergeron said, referring to the fact that the locally-developed course is a level down from applied math and not accepted by colleges. “College or university is out.”

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Julie Carl has more than 30 years of experience in journalism, most recently as a senior editor at the Toronto Star. Julie started her journalism career at small-town Ontario newspapers. She then served...