EDITORIAL: Great Schools effort overdue

Attempt to create a better alternative to school ranking a good move.

For more than a decade, the Fraser Institute’s annual report ranking of schools in B.C. has caused consternation and hand-wringing among the teachers’ union and the provincial government.

Teachers, their union and administrators argue the report, based on standardized test scores, only shows a small window of student achievement and neglects other positive educational opportunities constantly happening in schools.

But the report feeds the appetite parents have for information about schools in their neighbourhoods.

They use that information – in part – to form a decision on where to educate their children.

Now a group of Vancouver-based education advocates – current and former teachers, union leaders, MLAs, parents and trustees – is working toward a solution, some middle ground that will provide an assessment that gives a more rounded picture of the work going on in B.C. schools.

After more than 10 years of bickering, the obvious question is, ‘what took so long?’

The Great Schools Project, led by a former MLA and teachers’ union president, plans to review class size, school cleanliness, library resources and staff levels within the school as well as critical thinking, problem solving and community responsibility among students.

Good things are happening in our schools every day that can’t be measured in a multiple-choice test.

Teachers, administrators, parents and others involved in educating our children have a responsibility to work toward a solution and not let politics come before the best interests of students, as it has so often in the past.