Stop Admission Lotteries for Specialized Programs at YRDSB

Stop Admission Lotteries for Specialized Programs at YRDSB

August 3, 2022
Petition to
YRDSB Trustees
Signatures: 424Next Goal: 500
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Why this petition matters

Started by Bruce Yu

The ill-conceived Toronto DSB (TDSB) lottery admissions policy for specialized programs might be coming to YRDSB soon. The YRDSB's top staff member vehemently expressed opposition to current merit-based admissions.

There is a very real possibility that YRDSB senior staff will push to implement a TDSB-style policy at our board. 

Some of this has already started. The IB entrance exam, testing students on English, Math and French, was recently replaced with a "reflection." 

But YRDSB Trustees can say no and put an end to this. Sign this petition to send a clear message to your current YRDSB Trustees and all YRDSB Trustee candidates in this October's municipal election. 

I’ve worked closely with Trustees and I know they value how their constituents feel. Your voice will have an impact.


Admissions into IB, arts and sports specialized programs at YRDSB are at risk of being determined by a lottery instead of merit. Here's why this is problematic: 

  • It rewards mediocrity. By telling students that luck determines access to these programs, students are being told that they don't need to work hard for anything in life. That isn't the message our education system should be sending.
  • It doesn't help accepted students. By removing the competitive nature of the admissions process, severely underprepared students enter the program. Either teachers need to dumb down the curriculum – which doesn't help anyone in the long term or students fail courses.
  • It takes away opportunities from deserving students. These specialized programs can be pathways into exciting careers for many young people. It is not right to hinge the futures of talented and hardworking students on a lottery.

Fundamentally, a lottery admissions policy hurts the very students it claims to uplift. 

YRDSB needs to focus more on real issues affecting students instead of playing identity politics. There is no place for social experiments in York Region schools. 

This approach has been tried and tested – and failed. In San Francisco, Lowell High School moved to a lottery-based admission process, leading to record failing rates. The electorate recalled three school board members, and the board reversed the decision. The evidence is clear. YRDSB doesn't need to make the same mistake and hurt thousands of students in the process. 

Here's a quote from an excellent student-written op-ed in the Globe and Mail: "At the core of this proposal lies the detrimental message: Unless everyone can have it, no one should."

Support now
Signatures: 424Next Goal: 500
Support now