Questions About Enrolment Forecast Considered Disrespectful
by William Warren Munroe, March 14, 2014

In a letter dated March 4, 2014, Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Rollie Koop, dismissed requests from community members for the method and data used to create the new lower enrolment forecast as "that tired debate".

Mr. Koop, a newly appointed Superintendent, states that at the first meeting addressing the facility review at the end of November 2013, attendees agree not to discuss the "veracity" of the numbers during the rest of the public consultation.

Regarding questions about how the new lower enrolment forecast, used to justify the recommendation to close four public schools in the Qualicum School District, was created, Mr. Rollie Koop, stated:

"Any attempt to suggest/imply a grassy knoll conspiracy theory is disrespectful of the work that trustees, staff, and the community has done collaboratively to this point."

Why would Superintendent Koop suggest/imply a grassy knoll conspiracy? Community members were simply trying to understand why the new enrolment forecast was lower than the previous one.

Apparently, Mr. Koop prefers to consider community members who ask questions about how the new lower forecast was made, to not be community members and not be collaborative, and profiles them as "conspiracy" theorists.

Mr. Koop did say that "new data" was used to come up with the new lower forecast but Mr. Koop would not explain what the "new data" was.

In my reply to Mr. Koop, I stated

"To meet the basics of BCís Prescribed Learning Outcomes, students are to " demonstrate effective research skills, including being able to access and assess information, collect and evaluate data, to interpret statistical data", and to "demonstrate skills and attitudes of active citizenship, such as ethical behaviour, open-mindedness, respect for diversity, and collaboration."
Also the Superintendentís statement that he considers requests for the method and data used to create the new lower enrolment forecast to be an "attempt to suggest/imply a grassy knoll conspiracy theory" is disrespectful of me and other public consultation participants who question the numbers, and demonstrates a lack of skills and attitudes of active citizenship, such as ethical behaviour, open-mindedness, respect for diversity, and collaboration."

The importance of sharing information and respect towards community members who ask questions is addressed in this short video about democracy versus despotism.

In order to ensure that policy-making is based on rigorous research and evidence, insist that methods accompany forecasts and don't use forecast numbers that can not be verified and reproduced.

Forecasting [without well defined scenarios] pretends to foretell the future" (Former Statistics Canada Chief Statistician Ivan Fellegi, 1999).


Read the March 4, 2014 letter from Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Rollie Koop

Read the March 12, 2014 letter to the Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools demanding an apology.

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