It could get you clicking and comparing for hours with plenty of info on individual school board costs, spending, how students do, teacher salaries, how much each school board spends per student, and in-depth financial reports. Every Ontario school board is covered.This collection of public information in a one-stop format will be useful, even with the data gaps that exist on the site where a a particular number isn't available for a given school board in a given year. It will pique interest and lead to conversations such as the one MacDonald had with the head of the province's French-language public school boards.
As tech lovers might say, it's got great functionality, with each mouse click leading smoothly to another layer of information, using easy-to-understand graphs and charts.
"It's all stuff anybody could look for if they knew where to look," says Doretta Wilson, SQE's executive director, who gathered the stats from government and individual school boards.
"People can play around with it. We don't want to make judgments. If it piques more interest and causes people to dig a little deeper it's accomplished its mission.
French language textbooks are more expensive and school services "of equal quality" to what other students receive must be delivered to French public students wherever they are in the province.As advocates of school choice, the SQE's optics on publicly education education are on display at its website and on its related blog, School for Thought. I haven't had time to go poking around on this site yet, other than to notice one of the boards I cover is ranked second in the ratio of $100K+ earners to students. I had touched on the $100K+ and education issue in a previous post here, noting the huge lack of context and explanation that plagues reporting on the list's annual release— spurred by a release at the time from the SQE on $100K+ earners and school boards.
With only 22,000 students spread across Ontario, that means higher transportation and staffing costs. As well, the system has seen a 25% enrolment increase in the last 10 years, requiring the purchase or lease of new schools.
Fair enough. That's the sort of dialogue Wilson hopes the website will inspire.
What MacDonald doesn't do is draw a strong enough, or any, link between the SQE's politics and this Sunshine website. The way the site was built and the way the numbers are compared is no doubt ideologically motivated to induce conversations leading to the society's goals.