Monday, October 5, 2009

Deutchland v. Canada — Dropout edition

Quebecor Media (QMI) / Sun Media sent reporter Sébastian Ménard to Germany to look at some people and programs in place in that European country having a dramatic impact on dropout rates. For the bilingual amongst us, you can read Ménard's original pieces en Français as run by Le Journal de Montréal in September — the articles are summarized on this page. The Ottawa Sun started running the series in English this week with articles here and here on Monday.
Independent school administrations, an arsenal of specialized learning programs and a competitive edge have helped 94% of its students graduate high school.
In 2005, Canada's national dropout rate was listed at just over 10%. In Alberta and Quebec, 12% of students dropped out, as did 9% in Ontario. The numbers vary, and there have been improvements, but no Canadian province can match Germany's success.
One difference is the lack of school boards in the German educational system, which leaves school principals free to decide for themselves how to help their students graduate.
"All schools are different and they all try, each in their own way, to have the fewest dropouts possible," explained Manfred Paul, a principal in Aachen, a city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Since the municipality maintains the schools and manages staff, Paul has a lot more time to focus on education.
I look forward to reading the complete series (I'd only dug up the French-language links, not read them in their entirety) to see how this comparison continues. Considering the few very large differences in our education system and others, it should be an interesting read. More later.


Anonymous said...

I like that German model. New Zealand also has no school boards. Schools there are managed by a local council in tandem with the Principal.

I think change needs to happen in Ontario re: school boards and their entourage trustees(should be the other way around).