Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fraser Institute Rankings place most Prince Rupert schools towards the bottom

With the exception of the city's only Independent School, Annunciation, the reviews from the recent Fraser Institute School rankings make some interesting if not worrisome reading and offer up any number of questions for those digesting the numbers.

The controversial report, which raises the ire of both teachers and administrators alike at School District 52,  listed the elementary schools of Prince Rupert and where they placed amongst the provincial listing and for the most part, Prince Rupert's success rate in the survey was poor.

Annunciation, the city's only Independent school fared the best among all schools in the city, cracking the top 100 of the 860 schools surveyed, Annunciation's results placed it in a tie for 81st place, a rise of 14 places over the course of the last five years.

Its placement will of course renew the debate over the report findings, which many dismiss as not relevant to the socio economic situation that the public schools face, but on the theme of achievement, the numbers speak for themselves, the success rate of the Independent School highlights the standard of learning that has been achieved there, for that there shouldn't be any apologies required.

The public schools in the city were found further down the listings, the most successful of the schools was the now closed Westview which had a ranking of 655/860, followed by Pineridge 787/860,  Lax Keen 830/860 and Conrad 853/860. Results for Roosevelt Park were not provided, it is a school that has struggled in past Fraser Institute reviews.

While there clearly are some serious issues that face all public schools in the city, the fact that the local schools fare so poorly year after year indicates that perhaps there is a need to review the state of education in the city.

If past history is any indication, the School District won't have much to say about the report, pointing to the unfairness of ranking rich and poor neighbourhoods, Independent, private and public schools.

With results of a similar nature across the city, the foundation of education in the city seems to be in need of an overhaul, not something that parents will want to hear, considering the numerous times in the past where the School District has changed its direction and models.

But, considering the results, the system here clearly needs some kind of review, perhaps one a bit detached from the local scene.

Surely these results should be considered a red flag for the Provincial Government that things are not going well in education on the North Coast.  With School District 52 once again found in the lower reaches of the survey, it may be time for the Ministry of Education to take a more proactive look at what's happening in Prince Rupert's school system.

Funding issues, class size, teacher morale, administration overview, support staff concerns, lack of parental interest and yes socio-economic factors all no doubt contributed to the result scores, but just dismissing those results because you don't like them doesn't seem to be an approach that is working to the benefit of the students.

They may not want to talk about it at the School District level, but, the students would seem to be the ones that are being left behind amidst all the troubles of the area and if nothing else on the local and provincial agenda, that's something that all should be working to change as soon as possible.

The full review of the Fraser Institute report can be found here.

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