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Politicians riled over school for poor kids

Niagara school would provide extra supports for low income students

A proposal to start a special school in Niagara for poor children is drawing harsh rebukes from Queen’s Park, the Toronto Star reports. Ontario Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky says she is “concerned about the stigmatization.”  Although the minister said it was too early to ban the school, she noted that “We are watching this very closely.” Earlier in the week, New Democrat Peter Kormos went further by likening the proposed school to “educational apartheid.”

District School Board of Niagara is designing the school in an effort to boost the district’s high school graduation rates. Students from low income families, who are more likely to dropout, will receive extra supports including a longer school day and a focus on skills development. Rejecting the suggestion that the new school will stigmatize students, board chair Dale Robinson said,”[b]eing poor is a stigma already… this is something to give people dignity, to give people hope. It’s not about where they’re coming from, it’s where they can go.”

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