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School ranking report holds little weight

The Fraser Institute report has very little influence on Kamloops school systems, Terry Sullivan said.
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March 12, 2014 - 4:52 AM

KAMLOOPS — School District officials do not believe the low grades given to Kamloops schools in an independent research ranking report reflect what each really offers.

Superintendent, Terry Sullivan said he no longer even looks at the yearly report issued by the Fraser Institute, knowing exactly what it is going to say from year to year.

“The first 10 to 20 top schools will be private schools on the coast,” he said.

The predictable report holds little value to the Kamloops school system, Sullivan said, explaining that it holds too many errors.

This is not a view held just by him however, Annette Glover, School board trustee, is also frustrated with the reported results, and said that she is disappointed by the media coverage it receives.

“Their research, and their statistics, and this report gets very little support from any sector within the province, and that has been for a number of years,” Glover said, adding even parents do not refer to the study anymore.

The Fraser Institute said they produce the report as a way of helping parents decide which schools to send their children to, and to help the schools themselves improve their standings.

“When (teachers) design their lesson plans and deliver the curriculum, educators can and should take into account the abilities, interests, and backgrounds of their students,” the report said. “By doing so, educators can overcome disadvantages that their students may have. The socio-economic indicator enables us to identify schools that are successful despite possibly adverse conditions faced by their students at home.”

Glover said she took it to heart when she first entered the role of trustee, upset not because of what the results showed, but how they impacted the teachers, students, and parents attending the schools who received the lower grades.

This year the report showed AE Perry holding onto its bottom position in Kamloops, ranking 924 out of the 982 schools involved. Its overall rating dropped from last year’s 4.2 out of 10, to just 3.3 this year.

The school’s student population for grade four was recorded at 37 students. Of these, 13.1 per cent were ESL students, and 10.2 per cent were special needs. These are important variables that get overlooked in the study, Sullivan said.

While some of the students at AE Perry may not score as high as the top students in private schools, Glover said, the educational advancements the students are making are because special programs in place within that school.

AE Perry and a number of North Shore schools have implemented a multitude of supports and special programs designed to help their students, Glover said, because realistically not every student can come from a rich family, and some have extra hurdles to overcome.

Glover believes their job is to find ways to make the educational journey of these students as easy and successful as possible, and that information is not shown in the Fraser Institute study.

Sullivan said the school district does not use the report as a basis of what should be changed in the school system.

Instead, Sullivan has paired up with Thompson Rivers University to assemble a report of their own, one which will better reflect the strengths and struggles within the Kamloops school system.

Sullivan said he hopes to have the report completed by the end of the school year and ensures that it looks at a variety of variables instead of the single socio-economic outlook of the Fraser Institute.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Cavelle Layes at or call 250-319-7494.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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