TWO weeks of rotating strike action have done little to alienate parents in the dispute between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Government: among those with children in public school, support for teachers is two-to-one over the government (49% versus 25%) with 24 per cent saying they support neither side, according to a new survey from Angus Reid Global.
Overall, slightly more British Columbians support teachers (44%) over the government (31%), while about one-fifth (22%) say they support neither side.
The online survey, conducted June 6-7 for Global News shows most respondents (43%) want both sides to compromise on wage negotiations, while one third (36%) say teachers are asking for too much money, and one-fifth (21%) say they government offer is too low. These views do not differ significantly among parents: 40 per cent want more compromise, 35 per cent say the teachers are asking for too much and 25 per cent say the government is offering too little.
Class size and composition:
The other key bargaining issue in this dispute is over the size and student-teacher makeup, or composition, of individual classes. This decade-old issue has included orders by the courts to restore previous class size and composition requirements. The BC Government is appealing the latest court ruling, arguing the costs involved in restoring previous standards are too high.
Opinion on this issue offers the only majority view in the dispute. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of all respondents say the BC Government should “fund the education system in the way the court has ruled”. This opinion increases to fully two-thirds among those with children in public school (66%). Conversely, some two-in-five respondents (38%) say the “BC Government is right to appeal the court decision.” Among parents, this opinion declines to 34 per cent.
When Angus Reid Global first asked BC parents in late May about the anticipated impact of the teachers’ one-day rotating strikes, 62% of parents said they thought the job action would have an impact, but that they would be able to manage around it. About one-fifth (17%) of parents said the strikes would have a “major impact”.
Two weeks later, slightly fewer parents (53%) say they’ve actually experienced an impact. One-fifth (19%) say the strikes have had a major impact. Nearly one-third (28%) report hardly any effect. This compares to 21 per cent who reported they did not expect to experience an impact at the outset of the strikes.