National Poll: Canadians favour increased education funding and evaluations by teachers over standardized tests

July 12, 2010
Edmonton… Nine out of ten Canadians favour increased funding for their province’s or territory’s public elementary and secondary schools, according to a national poll conducted on behalf of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF). Results of the biennial National Issues in Education Poll were released today by CTF President Mary-Lou Donnelly at the Federation’s President’s Forum: The Funding of Public Education: Great Promise, being held today and tomorrow in Edmonton.

“The poll shows that if more money is to be spent on public education, one in four Canadian respondents say “reducing class size” should be the highest priority, followed by “improving the curriculum” at 23 per cent, and “efforts to help students feel more respected, welcome and included at school, at 12 per cent.

“With an increasingly diverse student population from a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, our publicly funded schools are key vehicles in leveling the playing field for the poor and disadvantaged. While we expect a great deal from our schools, meeting all of the students’ learning needs comes with associated financial costs,” says Donnelly. “CTF has conducted national polling for almost a decade, and results throughout the years have been similar: Canadians strongly believe that public education must be better funded. Turning that belief into action remains an elusive goal,” she adds.

“While education underfunding is one of the barriers to fulfilling the promise of public education, the heightened emphasis on test-driven accountability and the over-standardization of teaching and learning are two others,” Donnelly explains. “The poll shows 67 per cent of Canadians believe teacher evaluations of students’ work is best compared to 33 per cent who support standardized tests.

“Clearly, these findings underline the value placed by Canadians on education and the work of teachers. Canadians have expressed the will to move public education forward. Now it is a matter of finding our way,” concludes Donnelly.

Poll highlights.

Since 1995, the biennial CTF National Issues in Education Poll has been examining Canadians’ priorities for education spending as well as assessing how the public grades schools, attitudes towards measuring student achievement, issues such as challenges faced by schools and programs and activities that foster citizenship. The CTF public opinion poll was conducted between Feb. 18 and March 5, 2010, with 2,591 adults throughout Canada by Vector Research.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation represents nearly 200,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on education and related social issues. It is a member of Education International.

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Comments: Mary-Lou Donnelly, CTF President
Information: Myles Ellis, Director of Research and Information
Media Contact: Francine Filion, Director of Communications, 613-688-4314 or 613-899-4247 (cell)