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McGuinty Government High-School Strategy To Benefit All Students

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McGuinty Government High-School Strategy To Benefit All Students

Learning To 18: Specialist Diploma, Expanded Co-op Programs, Graduation Targets Helping More Students Succeed

Office of the Premier

TORONTO -- Ontario will make a significant step towards achieving dramatically higher high school graduation rates, reducing the number of student dropouts and increasing the number of students who pursue further education, over the next five years, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced today.

"Ontario high schools will be able to provide every student with an education advantage," said Premier McGuinty.

" My message to students is: you do your best and we will make sure you have all the choices available to help you succeed ."

Speaking today to students at Harbord Collegiate, Premier McGuinty announced, with Education Minister Gerard Kennedy, the third phase of Ontario's Student Success Strategy, an ambitious program to help all students succeed.

For the first time, the government is making a commitment to improve student success by setting graduation targets. By 2010, Ontario will graduate 85 per cent of its students, up from just 68 per cent when the McGuinty government took office and 71 per cent in 2004-05. The result would be an increase of more than 90,000 graduates and a reduction in the drop-out rate by half.

"For the first time, the quality of Ontario high schools will be improved for all students," said Minister Kennedy. "We will make up for the ground lost by the last government, which left so many students behind and go beyond to help high schools offer clear, attractive outcomes."

Phase three of the Student Success Strategy will:

  • Add a new Specialist High-Skills Major to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma that will allow students to complete a minimum bundle of courses in specific high-skills areas such as arts, business, information technology, and construction and manufacturing
  • Introduce legislation that would, if passed, require students to keep learning in a classroom, apprenticeship or workplace training program until age 18 or until they graduate
  • Expand cooperative education programs through increased partnerships with business and community organizations
  • Create new dual-credit programs to allow students to earn several credits toward an Ontario Secondary School Diploma through college, apprenticeship and university courses
  • Introduce a new coordinated effort and formal links between high schools and postsecondary destinations to help students reach higher.

"For too long, high schools have struggled to help students reach their potential through a one-size-fits-all model," said Kathleen Wynne, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education. "Student success is personalizing high school for every student to help them reach their destination of choice."

Student Success is part of the Ontario Education Advantage -- a key social and economic policy for the education of students from preschool through postsecondary school including Best Start (pre-school), Every Child (JK-grade 6), Student Success (grade 7-12) and Reaching Higher (postsecondary).

The first and second phases of the Student Success Strategy included: 1,300 new high school teachers with 800 devoted to student success, student success leaders in every school board, class size limits for key courses, innovative lighthouse programs, a revised Grade 9 and 10 math curriculum and upgraded technical education facilities.

" We want our province to succeed and for that to happen, we need our people to succeed -- so dropping out when you turn 16 should not be an option," said Premier McGuinty.

"No initiative is more essential to Ontario's future than our plan to ensure our young people keep learning -- in a classroom, or outside the classroom in an apprenticeship or workplace training program -- until at least age 18."

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