The rankings are the rankings
Every year the Fraser Institute releases its ranking of elementary schools across the province, and every year those in the education system do everything they can to discredit the report.
But to throw out the contents of the report just on the basis of who writes it is doing a disservice to the parents, the students and those in the community.
When you want to know how your students are doing, you give them a test to see what they have learned and how they are taking in the information. If they do poorly, you look at what can be done to improve their learning outcomes and adjust.
Look at the Fraser Institute report card as a test of the Prince Rupert's education system. It's based on students taking the same test as every one of their peers in every community across the province. If the school ranks low, one would think those in charge would figure out why that is and take steps to adjust to get a better performance in the future.
The problem, though, is in the six years I've been here Prince Rupert schools have continued to be near the bottom of the rankings. Instead of taking this as a possible sign that there is room for improvement, educators seem to instead lash out at the report and the people that make it. Hell, it's gotten to the point where teachers are encouraging parents not to let their students take the test because it could reflect poorly on the school in the rankings and create a morale problem.
Make no mistake about it, if the Fraser Institute had its way every school in B.C. would be privatized. Does that make the information they gather and release any less telling? No, not at all.
Do the rankings take socio-economic factors, such as average wage or students with special needs into account? No, they don't. But saying the poor showing of Prince Rupert schools is strictly due to the conditions of the community — being rural and with many low income people — is again doing a disservice. Case in point: Sk'aadgaa Naay elementary in Skidegate ranked 516th this year, more than 200 rankings higher than the nearest Prince Rupert school, and one could certainly argue that the socio-economic indicators in the community are fairly equal.
But neither of those two factors lessens the message people could be getting from the report. Instead fingers are pointed directly at the Fraser Institute and their report while nobody in the education system seems willing to entertain the idea that things could be done differently to create a better outcome.
We owe our students better than that.