Do we trust our public school system enough to provide our children with a suitable education, or do we need to know how each school in Powell River ranks in standardized Foundation Skills Assessment testing?
BC School Trustees Association is asking BC Ministry of Education to keep those standardized test results private this year. One fear is that outside groups, such as right-wing conservative think-tank the Fraser Institute, will use the results for their own agendas.
Knowing how our schools measure up against others in the province does not take into account countless factors that affect the testing, including, most importantly, the students themselves.
Once the rankings have been publicly released, the government has the ability to tie funding to how well the school is performing based on the standardized testing. Schools that rank low could suffer and ones that rank high could benefit.
The information being gathered in Foundation Skills Assessment testing is not benefiting the schools or the students, only those who have a political agenda.
Educators and parents do need a way to measure the progress and success of students, but standardized testing is not an appropriate way to gather that information. The best assessment of a child's education is measured in the classroom by the teachers, not by government testing.
The end-game for some is to privatize the school system and have the government remove itself from the education game altogether. Publicly releasing the results of government testing only adds ammunition to that agenda.
Groups such as the Fraser Institute can then trot out statistics proving that private schools with more resources can perform better than public schools in an effort to convince parents that anything is possible if you are willing to pay for it.
So your daughter or son is struggling and needs additional support in their education? Fine, there's an up-charge for that and they can conveniently receive all the extra help that you can afford.
In a time when the school system is so focused on individualized learning programs for students, comparing schools with standardized testing programs is contrary to that educational philosophy.
It may also be a threat to the very concept of public education.
Jason Schreurs, publisher/editor