In a move that will copy some American states, the Ontario government says it will introduce legislation to prohibit high school dropouts from receiving their driver’s license.
The move is expected to encourage Ontario from dropping out of school and is an attempt to bring the dropout rate down to 15 % from the current rate of 30%. The target date to achieve this goal is 2010.
Education officials were quick to voice their opinions that they do not believe that this measure will be effective. They are skeptical that anything will change until more specialized courses are available that are suited to more types of students.
Not every student is a capable student. This is not to suggest that they aren’t as smart as the rest of the bunch, but is simply to point out that there are many different kinds of people. Some are meant to and excel at business sense; others still are mechanically inclined and are excellent with their hands. To put both types of personalities and talents behind the same desk is a recipe for failure.
Our education system is flawed in the sense that it expects all students to have the same learning curve at the same age. As well, it expects all students to be able to thrive in a classroom atmosphere and this is definitely not a realistic expectation.
Anyone with more than one children, and especially those with several, will be able to tell you how fundamentally different each of them is from the others. Some children and young adults love school and the challenges that it presents. Some cannot wait to leave.
This legislation, should it become law, will place an unfair restriction on those students who simply have not, do not, and will not succeed in a standard classroom setting. Many young people feel the desire to enter trades while many are forced into the workforce, whether it is to support themselves or to help support their families.
There are many issues that need to be studied, and this announcement does not deal with any of them. What do we do about those youth who are in poor to bad family situations and feel that they must leave home? Are they now to become welfare recipients instead of workers? What about young women who end up as young mothers? Are they going to be penalized as well?
I have heard of nothing that will exempt a young person who perhaps is needed to help run or carry on the family business which is as valid a career as any that the school system can offer. What about those who are homeschooled? Are they to be exempt, or must they show their work to their driving instructor?
I commend Premier McGuinty for his resolve and for the goal that he hopes to meet. I hope he succeeds in convincing those who will excel to remain in school. That goes without saying. However, Mr. McGuinty should realize that school simply isn’t for everyone, and to try to force young adults into remaining virtual prisoners in the classroom is simply unfair and needs to be reconsidered. It will also be met with strong resistance.
My experience tells me that when you tell a 16 year old they have to do something, they will move mountains to show you that they do not.
Anyway, I don’t have to worry about it too much, as I am well past the age of 16, and to listen to the doomsday environmentalists, by the time my own children reach 16 we will all be dying from extreme heat and the highways will by then be underwater.