Ontario dropout rate soars 40% after Grade 13 abolished
Harris Conservatives slashed programs to help finance tax cuts aiding mainly
higher income earners
Toronto - The high school dropout rate in Ontario soared more than 40% over the
four years the province spent phasing out Grade 13 - up from 22% in
1999 to 32% in 2003.
Approximately 49,000 students left Ontario high schools without
graduating in 2002-2003, some 14,000 more than the previous year. In
1999, about one in 5 students dropped out of school. With Grade 13 no
longer offered, it's now about one in three.
Many students have struggled with their studies as a result of the
change, especially in Grade 10 mathematics.
Education Minister Gerard Kennedy, addressing the annual meeting of
elementary school teachers this week, called the increase "utterly
Mike Harris is
gone from Ontario but the fallout from his Tory regime continues
He blamed it primarily on the so-called "double cohort" of 2003, when
both Grade 12 and Grade 13 students graduated from high school at the
Mike Harris budget cuts
Kennedy, who announced a revised high school math curriculum this
fall, urged teachers to help deal with the situation by reaching out
to one more student each semester who is in need of additional
He said the province will help teachers, who are already complaining
about workload, to find the time needed.
"We will take more off the table," he promised. "Curriculum expectations
will become fewer, and we're already doing that with some of the
curriculum that's being published this fall."
The former Tory government of Premier Mike Harris abolished Grade 13,
known as the Ontario Academic Credit (OAC), as a cost-cutting measure
to help finance some of the many tax cuts - most benefiting
higher-income groups - that he put in place during his eight years in
The Conservatives were voted out of office and replaced by the Liberal
government of Premier Dalton McGuinty in 2003. NUPGE
Web posted by NUPGE:
18 August 2005