20th Survey of Educational Issues reveals public opinion on schools
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)’s 20th Survey of Educational Issues reveals that satisfaction in Ontario’s schools has declined. The survey tracks public opinion about the education system, government spending, testing, and equity. The survey has been capturing public reactions to emerging education policy issues since 1978.
Some of the key findings from this year’s report include:
- Satisfaction with Ontario schools is declining. In 2017, 50% of Ontarians surveyed were very or somewhat satisfied with Ontario’s school system, compared to 60% in 2015.
- 63% of respondents feel parents don’t know enough about math to help their elementary school children with homework.
- There is continued support for province wide testing overall: in 2017 52% of the public and 49% of the parents felt every student should be tested in province-wide tests (a slight increase over the last 9 years). However, 24% of the public and 28% of the parents felt province-wide tests should not be used in elementary schools – which represents a steady increase in opposition to testing elementary students since 2009.
- 55% of parents feel schools are teaching students how to be safe and behave in ethical ways in online settings. Sixty percent also feel that both parents and schools are responsible for teaching students how to exercise computer safety.
- 41% agreed that the majority of students would strongly benefit from co-op education, and 64% said that students need at least some understanding of how to be self-employed or how to start a business of their own, to prepare them for the uncertainties of the job market.
Public’s views on streaming, race-based data, religious accommodation vary
The survey also asked about equity in the system. Some of the results included:
- Sixty-two percent of the survey respondents believe students from low-income families are less likely to pursue postsecondary education than those from high-income families; 56% believe Indigenous students are less likely to pursue postsecondary education than white students; and 32% believe black students are less likely to pursue postsecondary education than white students.
- 28% of the public strongly or somewhat favours school boards being required to collect race-based statistics for their students, while 38% are somewhat or strongly opposed to this practice.
- When asked what grade was appropriate for streaming or separating students into different programs intended to prepare them for different destinations (e.g. workplace, college, or university):
- 15% said never
- 17% said grade 9 or earlier
- 23% said grade 10
- 24% agreed that grade 11 was appropriate
- 11% felt that streaming should take place in grade 12
- 10% didn’t respond
More than half of the respondents want schools to make greater efforts to combat discrimination in regards to race, religion, gender, LGBTQ status, (dis)ability, and social class. 33% of respondents though oppose students wearing cultural symbols, and 44% oppose students attending prayer sessions during school hours.
Read the full report.