In response to Graduation with Distinction, Yukon News, June 10:
In defence of Porter Creek Secondary’s principal’s remarks around the Fraser report, I present the following observations.
First, fostering students’ emotional and social learning by creating a feeling of family and connection within a school does not, as you said, remove the explicit mandate: namely, to educate kids and equip them with the skills needed in their futures.
In fact, it enhances our ability to do so as educators. The beauty of it is that it does not take time away from teaching skills and competencies; it is a vehicle and a tool to do so.
Students who feel safe and celebrated learn better. Notice the Fraser Report is not using any indicators from the areas of trades, fine arts or citizenship. They use results from ‘statewide exams.’
Subsequently, for those who, like our writer, support the Fraser Report for ranking schools on a quantifiable topic - test scores - consider the words of Mark Twain: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” You only have to visit their site to see some major flaws in how they compare Yukon high schools to their counterparts in BC.
For example, according to the Fraser Institute, Yukon schools have zero per cent English as a second language, or special needs students.
Also, I was shocked to find that, according to them, FH Collins Secondary has no French Immersion students. This means that any of the exams written in French, say Mathematiques 12 and 10, Sciences naturelles 10, Sciences humaines 11, do not count in the exam average or the failure rate they quote for the school.
French Immersion students presently make up about a third of the school’s population.
Neither do they report the parents’ average income for Yukon schools as they do for BC schools, yet they rate them one against the other. If we are going to make fair comparisons, we need to use the same data for all schools.
See for yourself: http://britishcolumbia.compareschoolrankings.org.
Christine Klaassen-St. Pierre