COMMENTARY: School boards should think about Fraser

The Fraser Institute came out with its rankings over the weekend of the province’s 676 high schools. The rankings are done every year and every year the school boards bemoan the results or just plain ignore them altogether. Oh, the rankings don’t help the school or they don’t give an understanding of where to improve. They may have a point about rankings with other schools in the province based on different socioeconomic circumstances like, say, between Cornwall and Kitchener or Winchester and North Bay. But the school boards should be looking at why consistently Catholic schools in SD&G continue to do well and public schools are faltering. The Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives has said before that it doesn’t take into account the culture, the respect, self confidence and character building. You may have all the good charisma and character when you come out of high school, but if you can’t read, write and do math, that’s a problem.

These measurements are based on test scores, gender gaps, kids not showing up to take tests and basic literacy proficiency. This should be nothing new to the boards as they see the test results every day. It’s black and white – it’s numbers that show no discrimination. It’s a pass or a fail and the rankings reflect that on a larger scale. This could be a case of school boards having their collective head in the sand. In this socially designed culture of no winners and no losers, does it really matter if students do well or do better because they will be shoved through the system regardless.

Maybe instead of poo-pooing the Fraser Institute’s rankings, the two boards should get together and find out how each other teach. If the collective goal is to educate our next generation, it should not be an “us” and “them” but what we – the public and Catholic boards – can do for student success.