JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ALBERTA BOOM MEANS FEWER FINISH SCHOOL   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL

It’s called making hay while the sun shines.

It makes perfect sense and is a return to the past.

Many years ago, high school graduation was a big deal. Many left school early for industrial jobs, knowing full well, graduate or not, that is all they would likely qualify for anyway.

The ideal of universal graduation is a bit of a fantasy since it is always based on the notion that our schools have something to give everyone. The truth is they don’t.

In the past, too, when high school graduation was a big deal, those who graduated did so with either the academic equivalent of today’s watered-down BAs or with superb secretarial or trades skills.

For the significant portion of any population with no academic inclination, what do today’s public schools in Canada offer? Almost nothing. Good training in trades and skills is long gone for the most part, having been sacrificed on the alter of every parent’s saying “my kid’s goin’ to college.”

Even former polytechnic schools and community colleges are contaminated with this fantasy. Some are becoming second-rate universities, some wish to become universities, and many are simply not offering the hard-nosed skill training for which they were originally created.

It all represents an inflation, a devaluing of the currency of education, despite the seeming great variety of educational opportunities.

And where there are real opportunities to make money with their limited skills young people are voting with their feet.

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