Nova Scotia Finds ‘Alarming’ Number of Black Students in Special Programs

Canadian Press, December 10, 2009

A report for the Nova Scotia government says there’s evidence that an “alarming number” of the province’s 4,000 black students are being placed in special programs for students with academic difficulties.

The 107-page study for the Department of Education says that often excludes them from post-secondary education.

It also concluded that black students are still finding programs designed to assist them are “out of reach.”

The report comes 15 years after the province acknowledged the school system needed to combat racial inequality.

It examined 12 programs that were created by the province after another report in 1994.

That report found that in the early 1990s, few black students were obtaining a university education, citing census data showing 50 per cent of black high school students were dropping out.

The report released Thursday said a program set up to provide support workers to black students has been effective, but the workers “are responsible for too large a caseload of students.”

It also found a rise in the number of black students obtaining post-secondary scholarships–from 246 in 2004 to 378 students in 2008.

“This review will give us valuable insight into what is working and where we can improve,” Education Minister Marilyn More said in a statement.

“We want to help all students reach their full potential, and this report and feedback on it can help us do just that.”

More said she would provide a more formal response to the report in the spring after public feedback.

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