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Premier Hosts U.S. Education Secretary At Ontario High School

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Premier Hosts U.S. Education Secretary At Ontario High School

Visit Highlights Improvement in Ontario Schools and Student Success

Office of the Premier

Premier Dalton McGuinty hosted U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan at Weston Collegiate Institute in Toronto to show how Ontario is helping more students get an edge.

The visit highlighted the progress Ontario has made in its education system over the past seven years and the steps taken to get there. One of those steps was to introduce the Specialist High Skills Major program. It began in 2006 with five majors and has now grown to 18. This year it was expanded to 100 more schools across the province, including Weston Collegiate Institute. About 28,000 students are taking advantage of the program to tailor their high school diploma to their interests.

Helping students reach their full potential is part of the Open Ontario Plan. Programs like the Specialist High Skills Major are helping more students graduate, get a job or move on to higher education and help Ontario compete in the global economy.

Quick Facts

  • U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joins delegates from around the world for the Building Blocks For Education Summit being held in Toronto today and tomorrow.
  • There are now over 1,000 Specialist High Skills Majors programs in more than 530 secondary schools across Ontario -- an increase of 260 programs, 100 schools and 8,000 students over last year.
  • Since 2005, Student Success initiatives have helped raise Ontario's graduation rate from 68 per cent in 2003-04 to 79 per cent in 2008-09.
  • Staying in school until the age of 18 or graduation has been the law since 2006.

Additional Resources


“Education is our economic plan. We're headed in the right direction and now it's time to build on our results. That's why we're expanding programs like the Specialist High Skills Major, so Ontario students can get an edge on the competition.”

Dalton McGuinty

Premier of Ontario

“It is important that our government is providing more hands-on learning opportunities for our students. Programs like the new Manufacturing Specialist High Skills Major at Weston Collegiate allow students to test drive their career interests while still in high school.”

Leona Dombrowsky

Minister of Education



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