SFU Prof Donald Gutstein is expert on the Fraser Institute. It recently published the annual schools report card and Gutstein carves it into little pieces. Read here.
The schools report is an example of “research” that starts with a conclusion – private education good, public education, not so good – and then massages the data to support the pre-conceived judgment. No person who examines the methodology gives the report card any credibility. Gutstein names eight distortions and other difficulties including:
The worst problem with the rankings is that they take little account of individual and family differences among schools, which include socio-economic status, race and ethnicity, gender, disability, ESL and school location.
Numerous studies done in the U.S. have found consistently that these factors account fully for school differences. In fact, poor public schools may even do better than wealthy private schools, when these factors are fully accounted for.
In Canada, a 2006 Statistics Canada study found that “higher income is almost always associated with better outcomes for children.”
Ignoring such key factors can lead to some bizarre results. . .
|Britannia H.S. successes|
A result like the one noted in a letter to editor by Vancouver Sun reader Noel Herron:
“If the perfect score The Fraser Institute awarded to a Bountiful elementary/secondary school in that repressive, polygamous community doesn’t cast doubt on the legitimacy of its annual ranking of the province’s schools, then what will?”
Not a Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy
Donald Gutstein, adjunct professor in the School of Communication and co-director of NewsWatch Canada explains how Canadians are being duped by a sophisticated, broad-ranging, and reactionary public-relations assault financed by some of North America’s largest corporations.