On Campus

McGuinty boasts rising graduation rates

Opposition cries grade inflation and slipping standards

High school graduation rates in Ontario have risen 13 per cent since the Liberals took office in 2003-04, according to numbers released by the government on Tuesday.

Premier Dalton McGuinty boasted to reporters that the 81 per cent graduation rate can be attributed to his government’s focus on education. “Basically, it’s additional funding and new kinds of programs to make sure that we can engage more young people, keep them in school, keep them excited about their learning,” he said.

The opposition isn’t buying it. Conservative MPP Elizabeth Witmer says standards have been falling. “We now have a system of social promotion where whether or not they achieve the level of skill that’s required, we’re passing them,” she said.

Similarly, Mark Langer, president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, noting that twice as many student graduate with an A average in Ontario than in Alberta, blames grade inflation. “Are Ontario students twice as intelligent as those in Alberta? It sounds unlikely to me,” he told the Ottawa Citizen.

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