Fraser report cards don’t measure up

In today’s paper you will find the local results of the Fraser Institute’s annual report on B.C.’s schools.

In today’s paper you will find the local results of the Fraser Institute’s annual report on B.C.’s schools.

Usually these results would be first released in the Vancouver Sun and Province, but this year the Fraser Institute approached the Trail Rossland News’ parents company Black Press about getting the exclusive rights to run these report cards before any other media in the province. I was initially opposed to the offer because I believe these “report cards” are really nothing more than fodder for this province’s over-zealous right wing.

I still believe that.

You can’t create a report card on B.C. schools because comparing them is impossible. There are too many factors, such as affluence, poverty, language and population. Maybe this report is relevant from a socio-economic perspective, but that would mean the Fraser Institute should be grading communities and regions rather than schools.

The negative impact of these reports should also not be undermined. Because of its flaws, this report casts what are likely very good schools, and ultimately very good teachers, in a bad light. For example, schools in very poor communities are compared with schools in wealthy communities, and while the schools may be equal in size, that is where the equality ends. There might be wonderful things happening in the poorer school, but that day’s biggest challenge might be maintaining a breakfast program so that students learn on a full stomach.

The decision to run these results was made because they would be released regardless of whether or not this newspaper ran them, and running them would give us the opportunity to provide our readers more than just the Fraser Institute perspective. It would give us the opportunity to write a balanced, fair story on what these results really mean at the local level. I think we have done just that.

Another reason is because I hope it leads to positive and important discussions between parents and their child’s teachers and the school’s administration. I hope that by presenting both sides of this issue, parents will take the time to find out more about their child’s education and the many successes that are happening within our schools, and I truly believe the successes far outweigh the failures. Ultimately, that might be the best report card any school could get.

— Chuck Bennett

Group Publisher, Black Press, Kootenays

Just Posted

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Remembering legendary ski builder Fred Bosinger

On Dec. 12 Western Canada lost a man who made a mark in its skiing community.

UPDATED: Body found in burnt-out car

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Most Read