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Press Releases 2005

 

December 16, 2005

For Immediate Release

 

StatsCan Dropout Figures Deal Another Blow to Kennedy's Credibility

True dropout rate less than 10% -- not over 30%

 

(Queen's Park) - Education Minister Gerard Kennedy's credibility has taken another blow today with the release of Statistics Canada data showing that Ontario's true dropout rate is less than 10%, not over 30%, as Kennedy and the McGuinty government have claimed, said PC Education Critic, MPP Frank Klees (Oak Ridges)

In August, Kennedy told Canadian Press that: "A tough new curriculum introduced when Ontario eliminated Grade 13 sent the high school dropout rate soaring to 32 per cent in 2003-04." In its Throne Speech delivered at the start of the Legislative session on October 12, the McGuinty government claimed that "too many young Ontarians are making the wrong choice: nearly one third of them are dropping out."

This was clearly a blatant misrepresentation," said Klees. "Once again, the facts belie the Education Minister's representations on yet another education issue."

The Statistics Canada study, entitled "Provincial Drop-out rates - Trends and Consequences" shows that Ontario 's dropout rate has been declining steadily since 1990. Over the 2001-2002 to 2004-2005 period, it was 9.1%. (Statistics Canada defines dropout as a 20-to-24-year-old who is not attending school and who has not graduated from high school. The study is available at www.statcan.ca)

The McGuinty government has also claimed to be meeting its JK-Grade 3 class cap commitment, when in fact up to 10% of classes will be over the so-called "hard" caps promised in the Liberals' education platform.

The dropout study calls into question Kennedy's recently announced scheme to suspend the driver's licenses of high school students between 16 and 18 who drop out or are truant from school.

"These new figures show that the vast majority of young people find a way to complete their secondary school education by the age of 24," said Klees. "Yet the Education Minister is pressing ahead with a hare-brained, expensive, bureaucratic suspension scheme that puts the government in the position of parent," said Klees. "When you put together the minister's misrepresentations, and the government's 50 broken promises in two years, it all adds up to one thing: You can't believe anything Dalton McGuinty - or Gerard Kennedy - says," said Klees.

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For more information contact:

Frank Klees, MPP

905-707-3160, 416-729-8999