July 05, 2012

United Way applauds the provincial government

United Way responds to the proposed Education Act

United Way of Calgary and Area applauds the Provincial Government’s proposed Education Act announced today, in particular the commitment to extend publicly funded high school to age 21 and change mandatory attendance from 16 to 17 years of age. These decisions will have a positive lasting impact on the success of youth in our city.

Improving high school graduation rates is an area that has been an ongoing priority for us as an organization. United Way has been advocating for these two measures to be included in the updated Education Act since we identified that they are significant barriers in keeping vulnerable youth connected to school.   In 2011, our research outlined in Towards Resiliency for Vulnerable Youth, paints a clear picture of the need for change.  We are pleased to see the Province take action in support of the recommendations which came out of this research, and we look forward to final passage of the new Act.

Dr. Loreen Gilmour, Director of Poverty Initiatives and Research at United Way, says investing in support for education at this critical juncture paves the way for today’s youth to successfully transition to adulthood, gain meaningful employment and become active citizens.  

“Measures such as these introduced to our education system will provide for greater flexibility, and in turn result in higher graduation rates for our province’s students.  We believe increased access to education is key to addressing drop out rates and ensuring high school completion for not only vulnerable, but all, youth in our city and province."