When governments closed schools and disrupted learning, many families rediscovered the important contributions schools make to modern society.
Students in the province now write numeracy and literacy assessments that don’t count towards their final marks.
Parents can compare each year’s academic results with those of the recent past to see if their school is improving, declining, or just standing still.
It will be much tougher for Alberta parents to ensure their kids are getting a good education if the Alberta government moves ahead with plans to junk the province-wide elementary school achievement tests.
During the Progressive Conservative leadership campaign, candidate Alison Redford apparently promised the teachers' union that, upon becoming premier, she would end the tests or PATs as they are known that have been written each year for decades by virtually all of the province's Grade 3 and Grade 6 students.
Poor results; no improvement. That's the way it is at 41 of the 276 Alberta high schools rated by the Fraser Institute this year. Three of the high schools -Bishop McNally, Father Lacombe, and Crescent Heights -are right here in Calgary.
What does this evidence of persistent low academic performance mean and what can we do about it?