I hated high school. Given how nasty it was, I understand why kids would want out. I have a much harder time understanding why high schools and education ministries have done so poorly adapting to retain students.
[quote=“Globe and Mail”]Alberta’s hot economy is putting money into people’s pockets. But it’s also pulling the kids out of school, leaving Alberta with the lowest high-school graduation rate of any province, according to a Statistics Canada report released yesterday.
Alberta shows the only increase in school enrolment in the country, because young people with children or of child-bearing age have moved there in search of good jobs and in sufficient numbers to trump the effect of the falling birth rate across Canada.
But the same enticing job prospects also appear to be luring young Albertans out of the classroom, said Patric Blouin, author of the report entitled Summary Public School Indicators for the Provinces and Territories, 1999/2000 to 2005/2006.
Only 67.9 per cent of young Albertans in 2005-06 stayed in school long enough to graduate, somewhat better than the 63.6 per cent in 1999-2000. Only the northern territories posted lower percentages.
This is particularly galling in a province that has been able to boast having one of the country’s most innovative public school systems.
Kathy Telfer, a spokeswoman for Alberta Education, said the numbers aren’t as bad as they look, because many dropouts later return to complete high school. For example, if young Albertans are tracked for five years after they enter high school in Grade 10, their graduation rate is actually 79.5 per cent, Ms. Telfer said.
But she also acknowledged in an interview yesterday, “We knew we had to do better.” And she said the province and local school boards have done a lot of work in recent years, developing programs to keep young people in school.
The national high-school graduation rate was 72.1 per cent in 2005-06, down slightly from the 1999-2000 figure of 73.8 per cent.
The highest rates of all were in the Atlantic provinces, where Mr. Blouin suggested young people are more inclined to stay in school because there are too few good jobs to tease them out. In other words, where money to be made in the fishery once lured the boys of Atlantic Canada out of school, now, on the other side of the country, money to be made from the tar sands is luring the boys - and the girls - out of Alberta’s schools.[/quote]