Students with high school diplomas are having their enrolment boosted by an array of options, from charter schools to home-schooling, even for those who aren’t sure they want to go to college.
The National Centre for Education Statistics reports that of the approximately 4,000 high schools across Canada, about half (or 52 per cent) are currently operating as charter schools.
More than a third of the high schools are privately funded.
About 5 per cent of them are funded through public funds, with the rest funded through private donations, grants, and donations from the public sector.
There are currently more than 7,000 schools that are funded by the federal government, according to the latest statistics available from the Canada Education Agency.
Some of those schools are also providing special education and English language immersion for special needs students.
One of the most well-known of these is the Toronto District School Board.
The board has about 6,400 students enrolled in its high schools, including about 600 students with special needs.
It was founded in 1966 and was granted the status of a school in 2012.
Its charter school program has helped the board increase enrolment by about 50 per cent in the past four years, from 2,600 to 4,400.
Another charter school is the Royal York High School, which is located in Mississauga, Ontario, and is one of the largest in Canada, with over 2,000 students.
It opened in 2006 and has since grown to more than 5,200 students.
In the last two years, the board has seen a 25 per cent increase in enrolment, compared to last year.
Other charter schools that have received funding include the Calgary-based Bancroft School, located in the city, and the Royal Ontario Institute of Technology in Toronto.
Private schools that receive government funding also have a good track record of achieving success.
“There are many things that have been achieved through private funding, including a 40 per cent rise in enrolments,” said Mary Anne Brantley, a spokesperson for the Canadian Federation of Teachers.
However, there are still many issues that need to be addressed for these programs to have a lasting impact on students.
The lack of funding is also making it harder to provide students with the support they need to succeed in school.
For instance, a recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) noted that a lack of private funding and access to resources can be a major obstacle to accessing college.
The report found that students without access to scholarships and loans, as well as a lack a high school diploma, have much less success in obtaining a postsecondary education than those with a high degree or advanced degree.
Also, the report found there is a significant disparity in the types of programs available for students with disabilities.
Students with disabilities have been more likely to be placed in home-based programs, while students without disabilities are more likely than their peers to be offered special education.
With more students and more options available to students, the CCPA believes it is the responsibility of school boards to ensure that students are provided with the information they need so that they can succeed academically and socially.