think tank numbers lie

When it comes to our children, there is no margin of error. Well, at least by the Fraser Institute’s reckoning.

When it comes to our children, there is no margin of error.

Well, at least by the Fraser Institute’s reckoning.

Of course, real life isn’t so tidy.

Every year, the right-wing think tank fires out a report card on secondary schools in BC and Yukon. It ranks the schools on a 10-point scale.

There’s a lot of handwringing associated with the document.

In BC, some folks actually pull their kids from school districts and plunk them in what they believe to be better ones, based on the report. That, of course, can get expensive.

Here, we don’t have that luxury. There aren’t that many choices.

And, by the Fraser Institute’s calculus, none are exemplary.

So, after the report hits the street, Yukoners often start questioning the local education system.

Now, through the work of some Simon Fraser University professors, it’s clear that the Fraser Institute itself needs a refresher course in basic statistics.

According to the university’s report, Cautions About Rating BC Schools, the institute’s rankings contain no margin of error.

And, apparently, there are errors.

In fact, the institute’s grade could wonky by 1.1 points out of 10, 19 times out of 20.

That means a school rated a firm five by the institute could actually be a 3.9 or a 6.1.

“That’s a pretty wide range,” noted university professor John Nesbit.

No kidding.

Not surprisingly, the institute would not return phone calls about the report.

It’s probably embarrassed.

But it shouldn’t worry — in BC, where the government has put teachers under siege, there are plenty of tutors available. (RM)