Finding information about B.C. schoolsOctober 9, 2013
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 (discoveryourschool.gov.bc.ca) 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?
Please see my previous post for information on the Great Schools Project, which is also intended to help parents and others assess schools.