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Pathways of/to Privilege

Presenters: Gillian Parekh and Susan Winton

Workshop Description

Elite programs, such as French Immersion, International Baccalaureate, Gifted, Advanced Placement and Specialty Arts, Athletics, and Science programs, have been charged with perpetuating and reproducing class and racial inequities both inside and outside the school – so what’s the solution? Should we change the admission criteria? Should programs be open to all? Do these programs even have a place in public education? In this workshop, we’ll examine current data, notions of excellence, equity and choice, as well as discuss personal perspectives from students, parents and educators. We’ll consider and debate the merits, problematics and implications of programs that create hierarchical pipelines through schools. 


Gillian Parekh
York University, Canada Research Chair in Disability Studies in Education

Dr. Gillian Parekh is an Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Disability Studies and Education (Tier 2) within the Faculty of Education at York University. Gillian is cross-appointed with York University's graduate program in Critical Disability studies. As a previous teacher in special education and research coordinator with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Gillian has conducted extensive system and school-based research in Toronto in the areas of structural equity, special education, and academic streaming. In particular, her work explores how schools construct and respond to disability as well as how students are organized across programs and systems.

Sue Winton
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, York University

Sue Winton is an associate professor and the Undergraduate Programs Director in the Faculty of Education at York University.  She is also a co-director of the World Educational Research Association’s International Research Network on Families, Educators, and Communities as Educational Advocates.  Dr. Winton’s research examines education policy influences and practices and their implications for critical democracy.  Her current research examines advocacy for and against public funding of private schools in three Canadian provinces and teachers’ policy enactment during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Her previous studies include: critical analyses of fundraising, safe schools, bullying, and character education policies; examination of the emergence and activities of advocacy groups in education; and an investigation of the meanings and enactment of school success and successful school leadership in Ontario schools. Dr. Winton began her career in education teaching fifth grade in Monterrey, Mexico. She later taught Spanish, writing, and fourth and fifth grade in Cincinnati, OH, and Toronto, Canada.