September 30, 2020

BY ASHLEY KOWITZ

While 83 per cent of high school students in 2013 graduated, the Ontario government is hoping to bring that number up to 85 per cent.

Students who don’t graduate are generally the underprivileged. Aboriginal youth off the reservation have a dropout rate that is 25.8 per cent higher than non-aboriginal youth.

In the U.S. there are programs to assist students with additional obstacles. One of the programs that has been implemented in over a dozen states is what some schools call “Green for Grades.”  The program offers students a monetary reward for achieving good marks.

Some schools offer cash for good grades, while others offer cash for perfect attendance.
Students at the schools that have implemented these programs have scored an average of 40 per cent higher.

In the United States, the programs are largely funded by private donations. Charities and organizations, such as Easter Seals, have agreed to increase donations as the program succeeds.

Of course, some will argue that we shouldn’t pay children for something they’re expected to do. They also say that paying a student takes away the chance that a student will learn for the sake of learning.

These programs are not meant for students who come home with straight-As and have a wealth of support behind them. These programs are meant for those who would otherwise leave school without ever graduating.

According to Statistics Canada, the average dropout rates for small towns and rural areas were nearly double the rates of large cities. In some areas the rate reaches 15 per cent while the average is only 7.9 per cent in urban areas. The final question is, is it fair?

Four of the nine reasons most commonly given by students who drop out centre on financial reasons. They need to work because a family member is ill. Some just see making money more important than going to school.

Fairness is giving everyone an equal chance at success. Every student deserves to receive support in one form or another.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.

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