Perfect score for Bountiful school discredits rankings
By Noel Herron, Vancouver Sun  February 11, 2011

Re: B.C. elementary school rankings released by Fraser Institute, Feb. 8

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?

Repeatedly challenged over the past decade by virtually all of the province’s education stakeholder groups, including senior staff of the Ministry of Education (outlined in a devastating internal memo to former Education Minister Shirley Bond, but not released in full, publicly), the Fraser Institute attempts to justify these narrow and flawed rankings as valid assessments of effective and “improved” B.C. public schools.

Bountiful’s other elementary school, Mormon Hills, which also endeavours to provide both elementary and secondary schooling, according to an affidavit filed by a provincial education inspector in the ongoing polygamy court proceedings, receives an annual provincial grant of $755,000 for its 163 students, yet it has failed since 2007 to meet provincial curriculum requirements for high school graduation.

Also included in the court’s affidavit were the charges of insufficient access and low enrolment for both of these publicly funded schools.

To place one of these schools at the top of the so-called academic heap, as defined by the Fraser Institute, mocks not only the official court submission by the Ministry of Education but insults the sterling record of this province’s public schools as acknowledged in both national and international ratings.

It’s high time the Fraser Institute abandons its methodological manipulation of Foundation Skills Assessment and stops claiming that its biased and narrow rankings of B.C.’s 875 public schools each year represents a balanced and fair analysis of genuine “school improvement,” when, in fact, they are nothing of the sort.

noel herron Vancouver

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