Monday, December 14, 2009

Apples, oranges, no lemons

It might seem a little too close to home for me to comment on, but the graduation rates published by the Ministry of Learning (SP Dec. 12/09), comparing the Public/Catholic schools, left, wrongfully, the impression that Catholic schools trumped Public Schools in terms of academic success. It left a sour taste.

The Saskatoon Public School system has comprehensive schools that offer practical/trade courses which often appeal to the less academically inclined student and which the Catholic system does not offer.

The Saskatoon Public system has programming and child are facilities to assist the return of teen parents to complete their secondary education. In many instances the teen parent cannot take a full class loan each year and has to extend the time frame for matriculation.

The Saskatoon Public system has a substantial number of immigrant students learning English as they work through the curriculum. As well, it has a growing number of aboriginal students that spend part of the school year on reserve and then in an urban school and are in greater need of school time and resources just to keep up.

The Saskatoon Public system has programming to accommodate every kind of student - and this may be the only criticism I have of the system in terms of student services. The smorg may be too large for the system to operate effectively.

And public systems can turn no one away unlike other schools and/or divisions. There is no "one size fits all" program. By its very nature it cannot be homogeneous as might be a private or Catholic school. It cannot cater to the majority. It will however, with support from families and communities, return to society a well-rounded future generation.

This is not an anti-Catholic bash. The Catholic system does a good job and I applaud their work. I simply think the Ministry is at times comparing apples to oranges. There are no lemons.


  1. I think the lack of comment here shows the real interest in what these school systems are doing these days. Maybe one of the outcomes of the Government taking control of the taxing power. I was on the SPS web site yesterday and couldn't even find any reference to their board meetings/agendas or minutes. One of the most generic sites I've ever visited. As for benchmarks, you are right, it is impossible to compare these two Divisions. It comes down to if your kid is lucky to have good teachers and if you the parent are truly involved in their education and I don't mean by doing their homework for them.

  2. I like the appropriate comparison of apples and oranges, but not because of the programs offered by each system. I believe that the academic success of the Catholic system is a strong reflection of the morals and characteristics of Christians attending school in the Catholic system.

    I realize that there are Christians in the public system as well, however there are many more students who have not been raised with proper Christian beliefs.

  3. Wow ANON 9:19 or should I say John 3:10

    Although I'm a Christian I can't believe your remarks are anywhere remotely Christian like. To believe because Christians are brought up with Christian beliefs it makes them better learners or superior is unbelievable. And your assumption that only Catholics or Christians attend the Catholic system is paramount to sticking your head in the sand. Catholic schools have students of all faiths and non-believers, this is why they are struggling with keeping their curriculum truly Catholic and one day may find themselves under the auspices of one true "Public" system

  4. To TheGrizz,

    I was not implying that the Catholic students were superior, I was trying to emphasize the point that Christian values which are a big part of our everyday life may have some impact on the success of a school system. There seems to be tangible evidence in the success rate of the public and the Catholic systems.

    This extends all the way up the ladder to the administration of the school system, to the teacher's in the classrooms, to the principals, to the students themselves. Yes there are non-Christians in the Christian schools, but the decisions on direction, curriculum and discipline required are all led by leaders with strong Christian morals.

    I have yet to see any of those morals demonstrated by the Public School Trustees or the Administration there. The Christian ideals I speak of are not confined to the students.

    Anon 9:19

  5. That is probably the most biased opinion I have seen on this post and you truly do have your head in the sand.

    If you take the time to actually read the indicators report and to do some looking through the provinces demographic data you will find that the mistress is very near to the truth when she speaks of programming and demographics of the two divisions.

    By the way the public division does have a variety of "values" based programs that encourage and nurture positive morals.

    Interestign comment you make about the trustees and admin. How many of these people have you actually met and got to know as people. Seems very much unchristian to be commenting on the beliefs of these folks (some of whom are actually Catholic). Not sure what your perspective says about the 3,000 - 4,000 Catholic students in the Public system.
    But then we would not want the facts to get in the way of biased perspectives.

  6. Mistress
    Nicely put, I only wish the province had the courage to provide a breakdown of all of the data behind the indicators report by school division. That is probably the only way we will ever be able to compare apples to apples and heaven forbid the truth about why the numbers are what they are may come out. My sense is your comments are very true, but we may never know.

  7. LOL -- Christians have more success with 'strong Christian morals'. Yes, because those in the pagan common system have non-religious morals which, somehow, are less beneficial.

    Look, I don't care if you want to have you separate system (which costs us tons of extra cash a year for all the duplication of service). I'll let you educate your children in your chosen faith, cult or magical pony universe and will even help pay (see above) for you doing this. But I refuse to let you say that somehow that your morals are superior to non-religious people. I believe in helping those in need. I believe in loving others as you love yourself. I contribute time, money and effort to causes I believe in. So saying that Catholics are somehow superior because of their 'morals' is repugnant to me.

  8. Very interesting that the Christian values is what makes the system better. I was helping a single mother with 2 special needs children become a part of our community. She wanted to register her 2 SPECIAL NEEDS children at the Catholic school close to her. When we arrived the first question she was asked - "Are you Catholic?" She said "no, I'm not but a strong Christian system is important to me." She was not allowed to register her children. I found this very disturbing and even more so when I found out a friend of mine with 2 "normal" kids had no problem registering her non-Catholic children at that school a few weeks later.

    Yep - those Christian values make all the difference. . . or perhaps it is screening potential students???


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