Education

Black Press proves its news instincts once again

 

A spy in the Prince Rupert region provided information that would probably surprise the unscholarly urban dwellers at the Koch brothers’ favourite Canadian policy institution:

Fraser institute identifies Conrad Elementary as one of the fastest improving schools in the province, based in part on improvements at the grade 7 level. What they fail to notice is that Conrad hasn’t had any grade 7’s in four years, since we went to a K-5, middle school configuration. The devil is in the details, yes?

Indeed, Conrad Street Elementary is unique, not at all one of the cookie cutter schools filled with children of elites, a school type generally admired by the Fraser Institute. The following is from the Prince Rupert School District website:

 

6 replies »

  1. You missed the best line in the Black Press fishwrap:

    “Conrad, however, remained ranked behind Prince Rupert's lone private school…”

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  2. The Black Press knows well where its gets its money from and in todays news business, you cater to your advertisers. So, if a well heeled advertiser says that it would be good to give the Fraser Institute more ink, you do it.

    There is no news today, only well managed propaganda.

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  3. A few years ago I heard about a workshop that the Fraser Institute was giving. It was for students but teachers could attend. In fact they had to attend since I doubt the speaker from the FI had a criminal record check. I did not take any students. It was an amazing session. First Nations people were attacked for consuming too much tax dollars. And the education and health care systems were attacked for the same reasons. I was shocked at what I heard. It was a total brain-washing experience for students. I asked a teacher why he took his students to such an event. He said that the students would get another perspective on politics, etc.
    A few points were overlooked. First, nothing in the presentation dealt with goals of the curriculum. Secondly, did the FI speaker have a criminal record check?
    It was an unbelievable display of arrogance on behalf of the FI.
    This is how the Fraser Institute tries to brain-wash students and set themselves up for the future.

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  4. Hi Norm

    I am a retired teacher from Prince Rupert who was dumbfounded when I read the Northern View article referring to Grade 7 scores for a K-5 school. I thought it was a typo so I went to the actual report showing the data for all our school's and was surprised to see scores for Grade 7s.

    As much as I hate the Fraser Institute rankings and as much as I hate even giving them any legitimacy by discussing them, I had to write Peter Cowley and ask him. He referred me to page 5 of the report where I learned

    a. about 1/3 of the schools ranked are K-5 schools
    b. 7 of the 10 indicators in the elementary rankings are based on grade 7 scores
    c. the ministry provides the Fraser Institute with the grade 7 FSA results sorted not by where the student wrote the exam, but by the
    school at which the student was enrolled during grade 4.”
    d. the writers of the report do admit that “schools could argue that, since they cannot influence the effectiveness of learning outside their
    own school, they cannot be held responsible for the grade-7 results of their former students”
    e. however, while “to some extent, this may be true… in many cases the school has been responsible for the child’s academic
    development for five years and it is reasonable to assume that effective teaching during that period would benefit students as they move
    through their studies at middle school.”
    f. still though, it is suggested that “readers reviewing the results [for K-5] schools should bear in mind that they reflect the combined effect
    of both the elementary school and the middle schools”

    So, fully 1/3 of elementary schools are being rated based on 70% of scores that are influenced by another school based on the assumption that the during previous five years “effective teaching … would benefit students as they move
    through their studies at middle school.”

    Of course there is no assumption that perhaps the socio-economic conditions (one of only many other influences) out of a student's or school's control will have any bearing on how well students may score on a single test and therefore how effective a school may be.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with standardized tests like the FSAs if they are used to drive improvements. But when they are used to judge schools on their effectiveness (when there are dozens of ways to judge effectiveness including taking kids from a low level to a higher yet still low level), the tests become a total waste of time and money.

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