Public opinion polling showing that Albertans are dissatisfied with the province’s handling of K–12 education should be “a wake-up call” to government, said Alberta Teachers’ Association president Jason Schilling.
“Our polling results show that Albertans are concerned about the funding of public education. They see class size as an issue; they see complexities as an issue,” Schilling said at a news conference on Feb. 19.
“I’m hoping [the government] will listen to Albertans and put money back into schools.”
Poll shows growing disapproval of government's handling of K–12 education
The poll, conducted by Environics in December 2019 on behalf of the Association, indicates that disapproval has risen 20 percentage points between February and December of last year. It also states that more than 75 per cent of Albertans would favour more funding to reduce class sizes and provide more supports for students with additional education needs.
“Students come with a variety of learning needs that need to be addressed in class,” Schilling said.
“Some have special needs, some are struggling with English as a second language, some are struggling with writing, and having a smaller class allows me as a teacher to build relationships with more one-on-one support to help their success.”
With two-thirds of Albertans believing class sizes are too large, and 58 per cent saying that education is underfunded (up 11 points from February 2019), the views expressed in this survey were shared across urban and rural areas.
Schilling says the poll results should be a major red flag to the provincial government.
“There is still ample opportunity for the government to regain the confidence of Albertans by putting into place effective policy, re-establishing relationships and making appropriate investments in schools,” he said.
There were 805 responses to the Environics survey, which was conducted from Dec. 4 to 19, 2019. More data from the poll is available on www.teachers.ab.ca > News and Info > News Releases. ❚