Letter: Columnist ‘reduces success in educational systems to high school completion rates’

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Re: Public school ‘crises’ doesn’t exist, Tom Fletcher, Oak Bay News, Jan. 17.

Talk about “narrowly focussed attack”. Tom Fletcher’s response to his own definition of ‘crises’ in public schools reduces success in educational systems to high school completion rates. Though a relevant metric, completion rates can hardly be used as an opening for Fletcher’s attack on the government’s compliance with a Supreme Court ruling on class sizes. There are other reasons why B.C.’s high school completion rate might have increased despite the previous government’s tenacious, publicly funded battle against its own educational system.

A recent Fraser Institute report shows that between school years 2000-01 and 2014-15, the proportion of B.C. students enrolled in public schools decreased from approximately 91 per cent to 86 per cent. In other words, the proportion enrolled in private schools, where class sizes are much smaller, increased from 9 to 14 per cent, a more than 50 per cent increase. The only comparable province was Québec where publicly-funded separate schools are permitted. All other provinces continue to have more than 90 per cent of their students in public systems. So maybe the reason why BC’s high school completion rate increased under the Liberals is that more and wealthier parents in B.C. sent their children to private schools where class sizes are smaller and labor tension less disruptive. Now that public education in B.C. finally has been given some positive attention and many young professionals are teaching in smaller classes, we can look forward to a better school environment for our children.

Vince Nealis

Oak Bay

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