Read this eye-popping column by Sarah-Maude Lefebvre of QMI. It is about why the Quebec Education Ministry does NOT release high school graduation and drop out data — even though the statistics are shocking. (H/T JNW) For example, Lefebvre writes:
“The province’s education minister, Line Beauchamp, said the policy [to not release drop out data] was introduced a few years ago for reasons of ‘sensitivity.’ ‘If we made the data public, one would realize that many institutions have a 100% dropout rate,’ Beauchamp told QMI Agency. ‘It would have a significant impact on the students’ self-esteem and staff morale.’
Yes, you read that right. Some high schools in Quebec have 100% or near 100% drop out rates –which, not surprisingly, have a significant impact on student self-esteem and staff morale. I mean, what do you expect to happen if more students fail high school than pass? How on earth are they going to be ready for the world of work and self-sufficiency?
Okay, so what is the Quebec government doing to turn those numbers around? Not much it seems other than tsk tsking and saying ethics and confidentiality prohibit them from releasing data? What absolute poppycock! Excuses, excuses. How else can any school improve if the administration and staff at that school don’t know what they are doing wrong or how they might improve?
Frankly, the Quebec government’s entire approach to such reportage indicates, not only a complete lack of public accountability and transparency, but a philosophy of lowered expectations, what some might call bigotry and/or racism.
The crux of the matter is then, that if the Charest Liberal Government actually want to do something to reduce high school drop out rates, they could start by telling the truth and actually talking about real problems, rather than ignoring reality for reasons of “sensitivity.”
Endnote: When I was teaching in a Faculty of Education, I also owned and operated a private special education practice. My staff and I helped children, youth and adults who had learning and other related disabilities how to use learning strategies and technical devices to complete their assignments and exams. Most went on to succeed in school and life, even if it was only to take part in assisted employment. Which means, that it is nothing but an excuse to suggest ethics and confidentiality prohibits the Quebec Education Ministry for telling the public why schools with kids in them that have disabilities are not graduating. They should be, even if they need assistance to do so. The failure is, therefore, with the school system, not the students. Meaning, the only breach of ethics is what the Quebec government is NOT doing.