Last year, I wrote a blog entry entitled “Public Embarrassment”. It was my response to the media surrounding the release of the Fraser Report ranking the provinces secondary schools.
The Fraser Report website calls what they’re doing
“These Fraser Institute’s ratings and rankings of Ontario schools help parents see how the schools in their city or town are doing academically.”
On the interactive page here, you can see how the 718 schools stack up – each is given a ranking from 0-10. You can slice and dice the data anyway you want. You can even see a Google map with schools pinned by their ranking.
Here’s Windsor. The highest scores are green, then comes yellow, then orange, and then red.
Click on an individual school in the ranking chart and you can see the data that goes into the calculation.
And, of course, the newspapers are all over it.
- Windsor Star – Windsor Area High Schools fall below average
- London Free Press – Central secondary ranks fourth in Ontario
- Toronto Sun – Fraser’s Institute’s Secondary Schools Report Card
- Ottawa Citizen – Report card day for high schools
I asked last year and, as I reviewed the posting today, I still ask what the point of this is? Whenever you rank, there’s always a number first and a number last. The testing results are given to principals and schools who will look at their school improvement plans to see where they can improve. I still question the value of press releases, posting this information online, and newspapers writing stories about things. In a day and age where newspapers operate like blogs, comments are open and it’s an opportunity for anyone in the community to take a kick at their local school.
And to what end?
If you’re learning or working at a school not ranked number one, you get to go to school tomorrow with all this hanging over your head.
In the meantime, the media moves on to a new day and new stories. Wouldn’t it be nice if some enterprising reporter decided to track the professional learning and the efforts that staff and students put in over the next year to improve? Or, do we just wait for another year and go through the process again?