School testing shows we have no idea what’s happening in Bountiful

Chris Selley:

“The Fraser Institute released its controversial B.C. elementary school rankings today,” a TV news anchor intoned earlier this week, “and this year a school in the polygamous community of Bountiful topped the list. That’s giving opponents of the rankings more ammunition.”
The report continued with Susan Lambert, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, saying that “everyone who has anything to do, credibly, with the public education system, will tell you that the rankings are worthless.” (The thousands of parents who consult the rankings don’t count, as they should have realized by now.) “It’s just another example of how … meaningless the rankings are, and that we should pay no attention to them.”
And then the Fraser Institute’s Peter Cowley rebutted: “How is it possible that … a president of a teachers’ union can say, on the basis of the evidence that shows that [the school is] doing well, for one year, in reading, writing and math skills at Grades 4 and 7, we have to invalidate those results because of [the community’s religious] beliefs?”
And that was pretty much it. It was the line most media outlets took, and it was almost completely beside the point.