The writers over at Our Kids Blog also took a stab at the coverage, in a piece that scratched a little deeper below the surface than the lead article in the Sun coverage did.
The Sun's take on the results is that despite billions more in K-12 education-sector spending the EQAO results upon which the rankings are based haven't seen a corollary increase.
But with all the extra money that has gone into schools under Premier Dalton McGuinty — he's ramped up spending to $20.2 billion in 2009-10 from $14.4 billion in 2002-03 in his quest to be the Education Premier — the results are thin, (the Institute's Michael) Thomas said.The Sun coverage drew a quick response from the minister, whose office sent out an open letter to the Frasier Institute by e-mail on Monday. I've tossed the e-mail up on my GoogleDocs.
"If that's going on, we would expect to see more than a slow steady increase," he said.
"I can't make any sense of the extra money that's going into education, where it's going, what initiatives. It seems to be a little bit more unfocused, than spending before."
I remember the days I used to write Frasier Institute report articles. Then I got busy with other beats and, armed with the knowledge no local school officials would comment meaningfully on the results, was happy to let the provincial coverage take the day.
Just as there are in EQAO results and the Society for Quality Education's Sunshine on Schools, there is value in the Frasier Institute data. It's what's done with the data that matters-- FI uses it to rank schools, fairly or not.
The ministry and boards use EQAO data to help make decisions on programming and resources.
As to the Sun's point -- billions more for little results -- given most of the increases went to wages and benefits, I'm OK with that for the moment. It'll be a different conversation when an increasing number of teachers are in the $100K club (coming soon to every school board near you thanks to agreements currently in place) but given their role I'm OK with that for now as well.