Public Education is Collateral Damage in 'School Information Finder'



    TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - The 'School Information Finder' on the provincial
government's website is a "blunt instrument" that will do irrevocable damage
to public education in Ontario if it is allowed to stand, say elementary
teachers.
    Launched in early April, the School Information Finder profiles schools
using EQAO standardized test results along with students' socioeconomic,
ethnic and racial background, and the number of new immigrants in the school
neighbourhood.
    "The website is constructed intentionally to allow for a comparison
between schools. Education Minister Kathleen Wynne has repeatedly stated that
she is opposed to the ranking of schools. The School Information Finder
suggests otherwise," says ETFO President David Clegg.
    "Our Federation is deeply troubled and dismayed at the labelling of
schools, teachers, students, and communities. The site cannot be "fixed" by
tweaking the information or posting even more data; the real problem is the
nature of the information itself, says Clegg.
    Clegg notes that the 'indicators' the Ministry has chosen to highlight
are selective and misleading. "For example, the site includes primary class
size data, but no data on the large class sizes in grades 4 though 8. The data
is also inconsistent and has the potential to be misleading. For example,
household income data are derived from Statistics Canada information of the
surrounding area, while other information, such as the percentage of gifted
students, is school specific."
    Clegg also points out that the only 'academic indicator' on the website
is EQAO test scores, which encourage school ranking. "EQAO test scores are a
very narrow indicator that does not reflect the effectiveness of schools or
the level of academic success of individual students."
    Clegg says there is no place in Ontario for the divisiveness and lack of
inclusion that will inevitably result from the Ministry of Education's School
information Finder. "If this blunt instrument is allowed to stand, public
education will become collateral damage."

    The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 73,000
elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province
and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.




For further information:

For further information: David Clegg, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836
(Office), (416) 948-1592 (Cell); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416)
962-3836 (Office), (416) 948-0195 (Cell)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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