Friday, February 19, 2010

Remember the SIF?

Fridays can be fun, when the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario sends out its newsletters. This week's iteration dedicates the lead element to the federation's new section of its website,
From the page:
ETFO opposes the Ministry of Education's School Information Finder (SIF) for the following reasons:
  • The SIF has an inappropriate focus on EQAO test results—an overly narrow measure of a school's effectiveness. This misuse of testing data leads to certain schools being stigmatized because of their results.
  • The SIF website provides demographic data about schools such as socioeconomic status, parental levels of education, the number of special needs students, and the number of students whose first language is neither English nor French.
  • These data encourage users to compare schools based on the information provided; in other words, to shop for schools based on test results and/or demographics.
Join ETFO in its fight to have the School Information Finder dismantled. Spread the word about to your friends, neighbours, and colleagues. Encourage them to visit this site and email their MPP to protest the SIF. If you manage a blog or website, help promote the campaign by embedding icons with links back to
This is likely because Minister Leona Dombrowsky has been recently quoted on the SIF and I'm sure ETFO wanted to ensure we all remembered what its opinion was.
The thousands who logged onto the site when it was launched, or go seek this data elsewhere, prove a point that lies opposed to this.


Anonymous said...

If anyone is at all surprised that the ETFO are as disconnected from reality it's stuff like this.

Your comments are funny ER. Nice way to start the weekend.


Anonymous said...

ETFO's reaction to anything that has to do with education - YAWN!

HBO said...

I was going to ask a question during an earlier discussion, re: school closures, along these lines.

How long have the results been posted? 10 years?

Is anyone aware of how often parents use results like these to choose a school?

Have these results contributed to declining enrollment in some schools?

I'm thinking, in particular, of the the little bubble surrounding Bruce Power, where there are many feeder towns for employees to choose for their homes, but the majority of them are choosing either Kincardine or Port Elgin, where I think the school results tend to higher. School enrollment in these areas is going up.

Many, probably all, of the other feeder towns are following the trend of declining enrollment. I thought they would have benefited, at least a little, from the Bruce Power employment surge.

If I were on a committee trying to revive my town and attract families, I would be with ETFO on this one, I think.

Anonymous said...

HBO - ultimately the revival of a town will not hinge on what a committee can and can't do.

If parents are being able to choose their child's school based on EQAO scores, so what? One would expect that if this happened often enough the brain-trust at those under-performing schools would find out what the succeeding schools were doing right and try hard to turn the school around.

It's being done in many places in the province.

If the EQAO scores weren't a way to value schools why did the government include them as a comparison in the valuation of school in the Accommodation Review.

Real Estate Agencies use the EQAO results...why not communities too?

Re: Bruce Power - they pump a ton of money into the community and they better keep those employees happy. The economics of a school district plays a huge role in which schools stay open and which close.

The SIF or something similar like SQE's offering, that if the gov't didn't do it, any organization could come up with their own, rightly or wrongly putting whatever spin on it they wish.

The gov't scored huge parent points with this. That transfers into a lot of votes.

I just hope they keep it updated and don't fall years behind like they have with the School Board Profiles on the MOE site - that infos. almost 4 school years old.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon. somewhat and can say that when Toyota was thinking of building in Woodstock their execs. visited neighboring communities and schools. I remember learning that the execs. and their families looked for schools offering IB programs, because that's what they wanted for their children.

I believe that boards would make those changes if it meant having those families enroll their kids.

When I first moved to the community I live in how, and before I had kids, the real-estate guy and our doctor recommended the Catholic school as being the better of the 3 elementary schools.
They spoke of all of the extras, like Fr. Immersion, and that "most of the children of professionals go there."

We enrolled our kids in the public elementary.


Education Reporter said...

Evening all...
I wouldn't trust a Realtors' word farther than it can be thrown. Remember they're trying to SELL you the house. They'll blow smoke, sunshine and anything else that tickles your fancy up your behind to make the sale. When I was buying my own home, I had agents give me erroneous information about neighbourhood features (imagine, trying to pull the wool over the education reporter on what's going on with the neighbourhood school). That just pissed me off.

Your Toyota / IB comment is interesting, since there are no schools in Oxford County that offer IB. I assume the closest programs are in Kitchener/Cambridge or London.

Your comment is interesting-- I think you'll find very small schools, in most cases, have higher EQ scores. Particularly smaller rural schools. I agree with your economics of school districts comments, but that's related more to previous comments on other posts about the viability of rural communities.

I don't have kids, but having been exposed to "high" and "low" EQAO schools, I would choose a low one. Firstly, because I would want my child to benefit from the resources available at that school. Second, I would want my kids to be exposed to the breadth of backgrounds in their schooling-- a school in a well-to-do neighbourhood with dynamite EQ scores may not have that sort of social diversity.

Of course, if I keep working in media, I'll never earn enough to live in a home in such a well-to-do neighbourhood where this would be a problem.


RetDir said...

EQAO data has been used and misused by realtors since it first was made public. Interestingly, when we moved to our current city, the realtors asked us what sports our children played, and the made school recommendations on that basis. I don't understand the knots that people tie themselves up on with regards to this item - it's objective data, and adds a layer of useful information to the education discussion.

Anonymous said... continues the trend to comparing. As long as parents are human, it ain't going away.