This week a tobacco industry-funded think tank in Vancouver, the well-known Fraser Institute, published its annual B.C. & Yukon secondary school report card, a ranking of schools in that region based on their performance on provincial exams. This means it’s time for me to publish my usual list of objections to these bogus statistical compilations, updated to the new material. As usual, I recommend that you peruse this report and then send it to its well-deserved location in the recycling bin (or the Trash can, for Mac users).
As usual, five of the reviewers of this report are actually dead, some others are in their 90s, and one of them is also the author, a conflict of interest if ever there was one. None of the authors are school teachers, although Michael Thomas used to be an education bureaucrat. (Now he runs a private school scholarship fund.) This year, it appears that the report card for BC has been paid for by the Hecht Foundation, which donates to a variety of right-wing causes, including a climate change denial group on the Prairies, the Frontier Centre. Such organizations usually fund the Fraser Institute’s work. Other report cards have been funded by the right-wing Donner Foundation, which created the Frontier Centre as well as the Montreal Economic Institute and the Atlantic Institute. Together with the Fraser Institute, these think tanks are responsible for promoting a consistent message of lower taxes, deregulation, and privatization of virtually all social services, including schools. Remember that when you read a Fraser Institute “report card” on schools.Tweet