Wednesday, March 17, 2010
How a TV Reporter Came to Love the "Worst School" in B.C.
Tired of simplistic calls for ranking schools by publishing test scores? Fed up with think tanks tearing a strip off public education? Ever wish reporters would know exactly what you're up against every day before commenting on teachers' lives, pay or performance?
Have I got a video for you.
Three years ago, the Fraser Institute ranked elementary schools in British Columbia and decreed that Roosevelt Park Elementary School in Prince Rupert was the bottom of the barrel - the worst school in the province.
Imagine the blow that must have been to the teachers, students and community there.
Now, imagine a reporter setting out to discover the truth about Roosevelt Park, by actually teaching there for a week.
No credentials, strong desire
Set aside the fact that CBC reporter Mark Kelley had no teaching credentials. He knew he didn't have the paper nor the experience. But he had a strong desire to get to the truth about this maligned school and the many at-risk students it served. And that's exactly what he did.
Kelley travelled to Prince Rupert to do your job for a week - and learned so much in those brief five days.
Part one of the series has been lost somewhere in the CBC archives, (if you find it online please let me know). But part two has been preserved by some thoughtful soul on Google Video.
Spend the next six minutes on this one and enjoy the feeling of watching someone wake up to the fact that teaching is incredibly tough, test scores are a poor measure of the work both teachers and students do, and school rankings aren't worth the newsprint they're wrapped in.