Fraser Institute Elementary School Rankings released

Some useful links that discuss the Fraser Institute methodology, and debate around these scores:

I recently interviewed a Vancouver realtor about how house-hunting parents obtain information about K-12 schools. He said those relocating within the province often get advice from friends and relatives, but many families moving to B.C. from elsewhere use the Fraser Institute’s report cards.

Although controversial, they offer the only overview of B.C. schools, he said.

That’s not entirely true.

Earlier this year, the Education Ministry created a website ( in response to parents’ requests for more information to help them make educational choices. A news release went out in March, but based on conversations I’ve had with several people, I don’t think it circulated well.

The website provides data about class size, the school’s seismic rating, student and parent satisfaction and results from the annual Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) in Grades 4 and 7. Unlike the Fraser Institute’s report cards, it does not rank schools and – not surprisingly – doesn’t mention shortcomings. It also includes this qualification:

“The data shown here is just a starting point. The best way to get to know a school is to go there. Talk to the principal. Meet the teachers. Get a feel for the school first hand. Go to the school’s website, which will give you much more detail about what is going on.”

The ministry says the website is evolving and it welcomes feedback about what other information should be included. What do you think parents need to know about B.C. schools?

Parents need to make an informed enrolment choice. On April 30, the Fraser Institute released its 2012 school rankings, a controversial report of public sector and independent schools in B.C.

The first consideration parents should make when selecting schools, said Helen Raptis, researcher into the history and sociology of education at the University of Victoria, is to disregard the rankings.

The rankings are a distortion of the foundation skills assessments, tests administered in Grades 4 and 7 to measure basic reading, writing and numeracy skills, Raptis said, noting how factors such as number of students who abstain from writing the tests are combined with test results to determine a school’s ranking.

Raptis uses the example that in 2011, Torquay elementary scored higher than Pacific Christian in FSA test scores, but ranked lower in the Fraser Institute rankings than the independent school.

“Despite the flaws, (the rankings) have managed to have credence over the last 10 years,” Raptis said. “Parents continue to rely on flawed information … (The Fraser Institute) adds variables that haven’t been tested to have any merit in terms of measuring student achievement.”

Know your child

Is your child thriving in their current setting? And if they’re doing well academically, but are unhappy, is that OK? Monitoring achievement is an integral step in the process of finding the right educational fit.

Schools, public or private, are generally interested in opening their doors to prospective students, but before parents take that step, Raptis said, they should already know in which arts, sports, or academic pursuits their child is most interested and which schools have a proven reputation in those areas.

“There’s nothing worse than having a bad school experience and having a bad fit,” she said. “We want our kids to thrive and pursue goals, to come out of their experience contributing positively to society. They can’t do that if the fit isn’t right.”

Raptis warns of switching a child out of any school – public or private – should they be enjoying a positive social setting.



A DPAC member also wrote an interesting report on the Fraser Institute reports last year:

Teachers pass strike vote

From a news release sent to DPAC 20 minutes after the announcement of the strike vote:

BC teachers vote overwhelmingly in favour of job action

March 6, 2014

A total of 26,051 teachers voted yes in a province-wide vote conducted March 4–6, 2014. In all, 29,301 teachers cast ballots, of whom 89% voted yes.

“With this vote, BC teachers have sent a very clear message to the BC government; it’s time to negotiate in good faith, take back the unreasonable proposals, and offer teachers a fair deal that also provides better support for students,” BCTF President Jim Iker said.

In releasing the results, Iker stressed that there is no immediate action planned. “There will be no job action tomorrow, there will be no job action next week,” Iker said. “Teachers now have 90 days to activate the strike vote with some sort of action. There is no set timing for when we will begin. It will depend entirely on what is happening at the negotiating table and whether or not the government and employers’ association are prepared to be fair and reasonable.

“BC teachers are committed to negotiating a deal at the table. That is our goal. The vote is about putting pressure on both sides to get an agreement. We will work very hard to get that negotiated settlement without any job action. A strike vote is a normal process in labour relations and helps apply pressure to both parties during negotiations.”

If job action becomes necessary, Iker outlined that it will occur in stages, but any initial action will not:

  • include immediate school closures or disruption for students
  • ask teachers to stop participating in extracurricular activities
  • affect report cards or communication with parents.

Any initial job action will be administrative in nature and have no impact on student learning. If, at some point talks stall or government does not move on key areas, that initial job action could escalate into rotating strikes. Once again, it depends on events at the negotiating table. There will be no full-scale walk out as a result of this vote. Such action would require another province-wide vote of the BCTF membership.

“Teachers voted so overwhelmingly in favour because the government has tabled unfair and unreasonable proposals that would undo the class size, class composition, and specialist teacher staffing levels we just won back in a BC Supreme Court Ruling,” said Iker. “The employer’s salary offer is also less than what was given to other public sector workers and ignores how far BC teachers have fallen behind their colleagues across Canada.”

Spring Break and April 4th Pro D Day activities – City of Prince George Flyer

During each Professional Development Day, the City of Prince George helps to coordinate a listing of all the fun activities for children to enjoy during their day off school.  This is an opportunity for kids, parents and educators to discover all of the great events and programs that are available on Pro D Days.

Children can stay active, meet new people and learn some cool things by participating in all sorts of programs, special events and activities put on by our favourite local organizations and businesses - especially for kids on Pro D Days!

Pro D Days 2013/2014 are September 27th, October 25th, November 29th, January 31st, and April 4th and Spring Break (March 17th to 28th).

PAC Cafe – April 12, 2014

PAC Cafe flyer 2014

For parent advisory council members in the
Prince George School District

  • Share ideas and challenges
  • Network with other PACs in your area
  • Get ideas from other volunteers doing your job
  • Enjoy a catered lunch
Saturday, April 12, 2014 – 11am to 2pm
Coast Inn of the North, Gleason Room

Pre-registration required, at

Free of charge for all PAC executive members

Questions? Call 250-649-6770 or email 





2014 March 3 General Meeting Agenda

Link to webconference for remote members:


Agenda – DPAC General Meeting
Monday, March 3, 2014, 7:00 p.m. Van Bien Training and Development Centre

1. Call to order
2. Adoption of agenda and Adoption of February 2014 Minutes
3. PAC Networking
To increase the effectiveness of this section of the agenda, we suggest that people report on ideas that may be of interest to other PACs, or concerns that other PACs could help with.
7:30pm – Partner groups enter
4. Guest presentation – flavoured tobacco products, Canadian Cancer Society (10 minutes)
5. Partner Group Presentations (5 minutes each).
a) DSAC Report (Graeme Mackenzie, Shelby Miller)
b) CUPE Report (Karen Wong)
c) Prince George District Teachers Association Report (Tina Cousins, Richard Giroday)
d) Prince George Principal and Vice Principals Association Report (Faith Mackay)
e) Professional Employees Association (Nicole Haines)
f) Superintendent Report (Brian Pepper)
g) Trustee Report (Betty Bekkering)
(5 – 10 minute snack break, opportunity for further partner group discussions)
6. Officer and Committee Reports
a) Executive Board Report (Sarah Holland)
b) Treasurer’s Report (Gillian Burnett)
c) BCCPAC Report (Darlene Campbell)

7. PAC and Parent Assistance
a) Grant requests
b) PAC Café – April 12th, 11am to 2pm, Coast Inn of the North
c) Fall conference committee meeting – March 12, 7pm, 5425 Meadowlark Road
d) Serving our remote members – idea for bringing PACs in from outlying communities
8. Advising School District
a) Education Services Committee Report (Steve, Dennis)
b) Education Programs and Planning Committee Report (Darlene, Chris)
c) Policy and Governance (Sarah, Chris)
d) Expanded committee of the Whole (Sarah, Gillian)
e) Ad hoc Technology committee – being formed
f) Suggestions for School Board Report

9. Other Business
a) Nominating committee
b) Resolution workshop scheduling
c) Media talking points
d) Spring Fling – 10th annual North Central Zone Educational Conference, April 4th
e) BC Student Voice Conference, March 12th
f) BCCPAC Conference – May 29th to June 2nd – attendees, possible date change for June DPAC meeting

10. Agenda items for next meeting
11. Adjournment – Next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 7th, at 7:00 pm Van Bien Training and Development Centre.

BCTF to take strike vote

The following is a press release, sent to DPAC.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                               February 25, 2014


Facing unreasonable government, teachers call strike vote
After a full year of bargaining and more than 40 sessions at the table, BC teachers have called for a strike vote to push back against major concession demands, an unfair salary offer, and a deliberately confrontational attempt to reverse the recent BC Supreme Court decision on class size, composition, and staffing levels, said BCTF President Jim Iker.

“Teachers care deeply about our schools, our students, and our communities. We don’t take a strike vote lightly,” said Iker. “However, this government seems incapable or unwilling to let the BC Public School Employers’ Association negotiate fairly with teachers. Christy Clark, her government, and BCPSEA are insisting on rollbacks, freezing wages, and ignoring the Supreme Court of British Columbia.”

Iker said he was incredibly disappointed and frustrated as teachers have worked hard this round to create a sense of calm and purpose at the bargaining table. While the last round was dominated by government acting in bad faith, this time teachers were hopeful that new players and a new framework agreement would help both parties reach a fair and reasonable deal.

Since January 27, when the BC Supreme Court released its ruling that found the Christy Clark government had acted in bad faith, BCPSEA has tabled unreasonable proposals:

·         New language that would yet again strip all provisions on class size, class composition, and staffing levels for teacher-librarians, counsellors, special education, and other specialist teachers.

·         A salary offer that starts with a 0.5% increase on the date of ratification. The increase is not retroactive. Because the previous contract expired last June, this means zero for all of 2013–14 school year to date. The proposal is followed by another zero for 2014–15 school year and then various ones and point fives over the next four years. The last four years of the 10-year term, an idea teachers rejected in June by a province-wide vote of 96%, features an ill-defined indexing scheme that even BCPSEA’s negotiators could not explain.

“The move to once again strip class size, composition, and staffing levels from teachers just days after the BC Supreme Court’s ruling showed total disrespect for the law, for teachers, and for students,” said Iker. “This government, through BCPSEA, is trying to pretend Justice Griffin’s ruling never happened. Their proposal to eliminate class size, class composition, and staffing levels would ‘supersede and replace all previous articles that addressed class size, composition, and staffing levels.’ For 12 years teachers have worked to defend our rights, our working conditions, and our students’ learning conditions, and once again we find ourselves facing a government focused only on confrontation.”

On the salary front, BCPSEA’s offer means BC teachers are being asked to take up to two more years of zeros after no salary increases in 2011–12 and 2012–13.

“Despite most other public sector workers receiving increases in the range of 3.5 to 4% over two years as part of the co-operative gains mandate, the government has directed BCPSEA to pursue a totally different agenda with teachers,” said Iker. “Trying to force wage freezes on teachers for another two years is not reasonable or fair, given what the government negotiated with other workers in the public sector. Teachers are asking for an increase that addresses the rising cost of living and a market adjustment that reflects how far we are behind other teachers in Canada. We believe that’s fair and reasonable.

“BC teachers cannot sit back and let Christy Clark and her government talk about labour peace in public, while trying once again to provoke teachers behind closed doors. We will do everything we can to secure a fair deal for teachers and better support for our students.”

Strike vote information

On the call for a strike vote, Jim Iker said: “For teachers, our only recourse in response to the unfair, unreasonable, and deliberately confrontational proposals at this point is to apply pressure through a strike vote. Such a vote, however, does not mean imminent school closures.  We will consider all job action options and timing very carefully. Our goal is to reach a negotiated deal at the bargaining table without having to resort to job action.”

Once a strike vote is taken, a union has 90 days to activate it with some sort of job action.

The BCTF strike vote will take place on March 4, 5, and 6, 2014.  Results will be announced on the evening of March 6.

Job action, if needed, will occur in stages, but any initial action will not:

·         include immediate school closures or disruption for students.

·         stop teachers from participating in extracurricular activities.

·         affect report cards or communication with parents.

Any escalation of job action will depend on progress at the negotiating table.
For more information, contact Rich Overgaard, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959(cell).


Further update on BCTF court decision

The BCTF has launched a new website to keep members, parents, and the public informed regarding the ruling of Supreme Court Justice Griffin as its impact continues to unfold:

We would specifically draw to the attention of every parent and guardian of children in the BC education system to selected quotations made by Justice Griffin in her judgement.  They have been placed in a powerpoint to provide direct access to her findings, buried within the 160 page ruling:


From the Globe and Mail:

In announcing the government’s appeal of the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), Education Minister Peter Fassbender said it would cost taxpayers “upwards of $1-billion” to restore classrooms to the contract language that existed in 2002.

However, with 60 school districts, each with different needs, budget issues and contract language, the cost of such a restoration is a complex calculation. The BCTF says the province has lost close to 1,400 specialist positions.

PGDTA information, from February 3, 2014 meeting

Re:  PGDTA address to DPAC.

Here is a link to a BCTF microsite:

It gives information to parents regarding funding.  I think it would be a valuable read for parents.

This next article is an analysis re:  Court Ruling.



As well,   


The Times Colonist articles are good too.



Here is further information regarding the Supreme Court Case.


Court loss to BCTF could cost taxpayers plenty – The Province – Michael Smyth


Court ruling a ‘big win’ for teachers, students – Langley Times – Monique Tamminga


With Bill 28 is the government serving the people or are the people serving the government? – The Rossland
Telegraph – Andre Carrel


Families first?  BC Government conned parents and kids during teacher dispute. – The Province – Les Leyne


Alberni educators weigh impact of class-size court ruling


Premier Christy Clark should not appeal BC Supreme Court, BCGTF ruling-Vikram Bajwa – Ticker Report – Shane Hupp


BC taking time to weigh court ruling on teachers’ rights – Globe and Mail – Justine Hunter


BC Teachers looking for Signs BC Government abiding by Court Ruling – Huffington Post – Dirk Meissner


How much has government spent fighting teachers’ union  - CBC


BC Teachers Federation calls on government to respect Supreme Court ruling – Langley Times


BC Teachers’ Court Win is Condemnation of Liberal Government – Huffington Post – Susan Lambert (NOTE:  Susan Lambert was in the court room every day through the entire court case)
Uphold court decision, restore contracts now, Victoria teachers say – Times Colonist – Lindsay Kines


Superintendent Speaking Notes – February 3, 2014

District Parent Advisory Committee




  1. Secondary Second Semester
    1. Please review your child’s course schedule
    2. Please ensure you are discussing class curriculum and progress
    3. Please contact your child’s teacher with any questions or concerns – be involved early in the semester


  1. The “Big Three”:
    1. Superintendent’s Report on Achievement
    2. District Achievement Contract
    3. SD57 Budget Process

-       There is a linkage between each of these 3 documents.

-       You should see each document reflected in the others.


  1. Crime Watch Canada – Tips for Parents About the Internet
    1. “Know what your kids are doing online!  Negotiate what sites and social networking are acceptable
    2. Teach you kids all about the internet and its anonymity – people can lie about anything
    3. Tell children to discuss with you situations where they want to give out their personal information so you can make a decision together.  Remind them that anything they write or post is now potentially public domain forever.
    4. Discuss sex and the net and sexual predation.  Tell them that someone who deserves their trust will never ask for sexually explicit photos or talk about sex in uncomfortable detail nor will they tell them to hide things from their parents.
    5. Tell them that they must always talk to you about meeting someone in person that they met online.  Tell them that you or another trusted adult must accompany them to the meeting.”




  1. Social and Emotional Learning

One of the district’s eight (Essential Eight) key areas for staff and student learning. Anchored in research and intended to develop ability for students to:

i.   Understand emotional needs.

ii.  Respect self and others.

iii. Develop cooperative relationships.


Social and emotional learning enhances academic achievement, helps students develop self-management and self-control, improves relationships, reduces conflict, improves classroom management, and helps young people’s health and success at school.