KAMLOOPS – The Fraser Institute has released its report on the top primary and secondary schools in the province, and according to Karl deBrujin, superintendent of the Kamloops-Thompson School District, it is a predictable list of no added value to him or schools in his district.
Kamloops’ top elementary school was once again a private school, St. Ann’s Academy, and ranked 52nd with a 'green' score of 8.9 out of 10.
Number two for the city is another private school. Kamloops Christian School received the top secondary school marks, receiving a 'yellow' 7.4. Kamloops Christian School ranked 63rd in the province.
“(The rankings) are patently unfair, and not intended to be fair,” deBrujin says, adding they contribute no scientific value and are derived from a contrived formula.
The biggest problem, according to deBrujin, is the rankings are drawn on socio-economic lines. According to the Fraser Institute, they release these rankings every year to help parents decide what school to send their children to. But deBruijn wonders who, exactly, has this luxury. He notes most people cannot afford to send their children to private schools nor do they have options of schools in their neighbourhoods. Most people send their children to the public school nearest their home.
Private schools select children based on scholastic achievement while the public system is open to all, regardless of ability or aptitude, and it is up to the public schools to accommodate learning for everyone.
“We certainly, at the school district level, don’t require these rankings,” deBrujin says, adding that the Kamloops Thompson school division actually scores consistently higher than the provincial average, and British Columbia ranks in the top percentile of school districts in the world. “We know our students.”
DeBrujin says the process for evaluating children is fluid. While the Foundation Skills Assessment is a yearly test to evaluate students, the superintendent says it is only one piece of the assessment pie. He argues it is possible to walk into any classroom in the district and ask a teacher what students’ strengths and weaknesses are. Based on their constant input, the skills assessment scores and even students’ own assessment, the district is constantly monitoring students’ achievement.
The institute ranks schools based on reading, writing and numeracy on a cross section of grades within individual schools. Each school is then given a grade out of ten that falls within a colour range, green being the highest range with marks of 10-7.5, yellow at marks of 7.4-5, orange at 4.9-2.5 and red with a range below this.
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