School Information Finder labels local communities

    TORONTO, June 5 /CNW/ - The Ontario English Catholic Teachers
Association, OECTA, is calling on the Ontario government to shut down its
School Information Finder (SIF) website, because of the kind of demographic
information it provides. OECTA president Elaine Mac Neil says that the SIF has
the potential to stigmatize school communities by focusing on labels and test
results that use a narrowly defined measurement of student achievement upon
which the government is becoming highly dependent.
    The SIF initiative is not in keeping with the government's ambition to
build confidence in publicly funded education, she says. "Student achievement
is not increased by providing a means to identify schools that may be deemed
inferior by some people."
    "Encouraging parents to shop for schools on the basis of narrow
demographic and family data about school communities doesn't improve
education. Decisions about which school parents choose for their children
should be based on visits to local schools."
    Making it possible for parents to shop and move students in and out of
schools, panders to the stereotypical attitudes that the Ministry is trying to
erase in its new Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, says Mac Neil. "It
would be better to continue to invest in the success of every school instead."

    OECTA, representing 36,000 elementary and secondary teachers in Ontario's
Catholic schools, is one of 21 education stakeholder groups representing
parents, principals, trustees, school boards and directors of education, who
are calling on Education Minister Kathleen Wynne and Premier McGuinty to
remove the SIF.

For further information:

For further information: Elaine Mac Neil, President, (416) 925-2493 X
417 or Mobile: (416) 400-8324

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Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association

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