Premier Dalton McGuinty wants to cut the annual high school dropout rate in half, to 15 per cent by 2010.NOw part of this I like. It makes sense to offer a variety of different programs. After all, not all teenagers are suited to academics. Working an apprenticeship-type program into high school would be a good thing to help meet their needs.
McGuinty says the province will change the high school curriculum so it encourages kids to stay and next week Education Minister Gerard Kennedy will introduce legislation to keep kids in school until age 18. The Minister says kids will be encouraged to stay in school with more choice, more co-op programs and a specialized high school diploma.
But the idea that the way to keep kids from dropping out is to force them to saty in school for 2 more years (currently you can drop out at 16)? What will that accomplish? SO you can't drop out. Big deal. Students who are not getting anything from school will still "forget" to go. Or you can force them to attend but nothing can force them to learn. Unless of course graduation is acheived by being a warm body in a seat and not by learning the curriculum.
Don't get me wrong. Anything to encourage teens-at-risk to get more education is a good thing. But forcing them to be there just doesn't seem the best way to do that.