Changes in the perception of school climate and self-identified race in two Toronto cohorts




race, school climate, critical policy analysis, education, Canada, Toronto


Drawing on Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Student Census data (2006 and 2011), we examine if there have been changes in the perceptions of school climate between two cohorts of high school students. First, we contextualize our study and review relevant policy changes to student inclusion and equity to set the stages for examining, by way of a sort of “natural experiment”, to see if there was a change in the perception of school climate by students after these policy changes occurred. We then review the scholarship on school climate, its relationship to race, and its relationships to educational experiences and outcomes. We then examine how self-identified race is associated with students’ perceptions of school climate in both cohorts, interpreting our results within a Critical Policy Analysis framework. We find evidence of improved school climate from 2003 to 2008, although the changes have not been uniform by self-identified race, and in some cases have worsened, particularly for self-identified Black and Latin American students.


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Author Biographies

Rhonda C. George, York University

Rhonda C. George is a PhD candidate in Sociology at York University. Her research examines the social and intersectional dimensions of race, racialization, and racial stratification within social institutions such as sport, education, and health care systems and with a specific focus on African and Caribbean diasporic groups.

Alice Romo, University of Toronto

Alice Romo is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy in the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include police in schools, the school to prison pipeline, exclusionary school discipline and restorative justice.




How to Cite

George, R. C., Romo, A., & Robson, K. (2021). Changes in the perception of school climate and self-identified race in two Toronto cohorts. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 29(August - December).