This project explores the relationship between socio-economic neighbourhood characteristics and educational outcomes for students in Vancouver. This is an important study given that the negative consequences of high-school failure, or sub-standard performance, are extensive for both the individual and society.
Education is the key to upward mobility in western capitalist society. Without a high school diploma, an individual’s chances of making enough money to support themselves, let alone a family, are limited. The lack of employment opportunity for uneducated people bares consequences not only for the uneducated individual and their family, but also for the government which ends up supporting unemployed people through social assistance. Furthermore, a person’s chances of engaging in criminal behaviour are much higher if they are uneducated (Siegel & McCormick, 2003). Due to the challenge of attaining secure and high-wage employment in the absence of an education, illegal occupations can sometimes become an alternative. The costs of criminal behaviour are once again absorbed by the individual and the government.
In order to evaluate the educational outcomes of students in Vancouver we will examine two indicators: early child development gathered by an ‘Early Development Instrument’ (EDI) and high school scores measured from provincial exam marks, graduation rates, and an ‘overall rating’ given by the Fraser Institute. These educational outcome determinants will then be compared with socio-economic data for Vancouver neighbourhoods in 1996. Our analysis includes three sections unified by a single goal: to understand if socio-economic factors and/or early childhood development can explain disparities in educational outcomes in Vancouver. The three components of our study are as follows:
The aim of this analysis is to show how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used to uncover factors that explain disparities in education outcomes in Vancouver. The results of this spatial analysis may provide valuable information in order to guide policy and educational funding decisions to reduce disparities in the public education system in Vancouver.