Report card fails in its approach

It’s that time of the year when the conservative Fraser Institute releases its report card on secondary schools.

Right off the start, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on provincial exam and graduation rates. Comparing how a school did year-over-year will hopefully lead educators to determine if there are changes required to improve student success.

But the flaw with the Fraser Institute’s method is that it portrays provincial exams as the only factor that is relevant in the classroom.

It doesn’t consider the broad spectrum of school life — sports, arts, trades or the courses without provincial exams. Nowhere does it mention the extra-curricular activities and particularly those that make students socially aware of the world around them.

The Fraser Institute doesn’t make any reference to the hard work many teachers put in to ensure that some students stay in school instead of dropping out. Supplies may be provided to those from lower-income families, while many teachers are also willing to be a sounding board for those navigating the turmoil of the teenage years.

Most of the schools ranked at the top are private, and because tuition is required, they don’t generally include students from disadvantaged homes like their public counterparts.

Ultimately, academic results are important, but so are all of the other components of school. With luck, they come together to help form a well-rounded individual who is prepared to leave school and become a contributing member of society.

The ranking of schools does little to improve the quality of education in British Columbia. And at the end of the day, those are the only rankings that matter to the people of B.C.

— Vernon Morning Star

 

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