The Fraser Institute is back with its 2017 report card for B.C.’s primary schools, and once again has given private schools top marks.
Co-author Peter Cowley notes many of the high-scoring private schools aren’t elite institutions with five-figure tuition.
“If we look for instance in the top 20, there are just two public schools, both in West Vancouver, and the rest are private schools. And right up at the top schools that have gotten 10 out of 10 – Crofton House, Holy Cross, St. Georges and so on.”
But he says out of the 61 schools that showed statistically significant improvement during the last four years, 57 of them were public.”
Cowley says they offer a lesson for other schools around the province.
“Any person involved in education would want to know who the schools are that are improving, and the second question is okay, now we know who these schools are, let’s find out what happened.”
The annual report from the right-leaning think tank grades schools on 10 academic indicators and has run since 2003.
Cowley credits private schools’ performance to their place in a market, where if they don’t perform, they’ll lose their customers.
Parents can see the full report card by clicking here.
But the president of the B.C. Teacher’s Federation calls the report flawed and not reflective of the situation inside the province’s schools.
Glen Hansman says while the study looks at test scores, it doesn’t look at much else.
“There’s so many factors outside of the control of the school. The socioeconomics, whether a child is hungry or not, whether they’ve moved from another community. So when we know that the sort of resources available in elite private schools are only things that we could dream of in our neighbourhood public schools.”
Hansman says the focus shouldn’t be on private schools topping the list but funding public schools so they can have equal resources to their private counterparts.
“We’re not doing the sort of test prep that perhaps some of the private schools are doing, nor do we get to select which students come into our schools.”
Hansman says the study also ignores funding for the public system.