Here is an article I read last year, but was posted today by someone on facebook.
Forget Africentric schools: Toronto’s Portuguese community has the highest dropout rate in the city.
JAN. 7, 2013
Although the high dropout rate among black students has grabbed headlines in recent years, prompting the creation of two Africentric schools in Toronto, it’s Portuguese who, according to a 2006 Toronto District School Board report, have the highest rate in the city: 42.5 percent. –
You should read through the article yourself, but it is a VERY good description, and analysis, as to why a lot of Portuguese students dropout. We always have to remember that there are many influences that play on our students, and that everything we say has an impact
Born in Portugal, [Filipe] came to Toronto when he was seven. I asked him if teachers ever tried to set his expectations low. “My Grade 8 teacher said we’re all going to be carpenters like all the other Portuguese,” he answered. “Unless we study.” His friend Bryan added, “Some student teacher came in in Grade 7 and said Portuguese kids don’t like to study.”
As teachers we need to show our students that school, and knowledge in general, is something positive and important. We need to, unfortunately, make it worth their time to learn, because there are many other things that they could be doing. Moving away from learning as a task just to go to the next grade needs to be something that all teachers focus on. There needs to be a goal, something the students can be proud of.
Back in the seventies, he said, the Portuguese in Canada were poor, and focused on financial stability above all else. There was a logic to dropping out—mortgages to be paid, food to be put on the table. “Now, I don’t really understand why,” Gomes said. “Things aren’t as bad as they used to be.” Still, he said, with a dark chuckle, “it’s the same attitude: work first, knowledge later.”
Times have changed, and we need to make sure that our students know that education helps that change take place.
What needs to change?
What can we do to emphasize the importance of education to all students?
JAN. 7, 2013