Over the years, the Canadian Education Association (CEA) has explored many different questions with Canadians through our national surveys. This year, we wanted to examine Canadians’ views on innovation in education, and get a sense of your appetite for change in public education.
An online survey was conducted in March 2012 and 493 people responded from across the country. This pan-Canadian sampling shares what our educators think about the need for change, how they would grade our public education system, and what their top priorities are for public education in Canada.
1. 73% of respondents felt that there was a need for change
CEA and a contracted research firm asked respondents what they felt the degree of need for change was in Canadian public education. The need for change is greatest in B.C. (96%), the Atlantic Region (88%), Alberta (85%). The need for change appears to be less intense in Ontario.
2. Grading Canadian public schools with a “B”
We asked respondents to grade their public schools (junior KD to Grade 12) in their community/province with an A,B,C,D, or Fail. Just under half of all respondents gave a grade of “B” to the public schools in their community (47%) and province (42%). In general, communities received slightly higher grades than provinces. Respondents from Ontario and B.C. were more likely to assign grades of A or B, compared to respondents from the other provinces.
3. On the need for new ways of doing things
When asked how much need there was, if any, to find new ways of doing things with respect to a variety of ongoing challenges in education, nearly all respondents agreed that “handling differences in student abilities”, “linking schools to outside learning”, and “helping students learn in high school classrooms” were considered to be the top priorities.
Interestingly, “Using technology in the classroom” was the most polarizing item (with relatively larger proportions on both sides of the scale), indicating that while many strongly believe that this must be an area of focus, others are not as convinced (or not as comfortable with the idea).
4. Prioritizing the biggest challenges in public education
When respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement or disagreement on the challenges facing public education today, B.C. and Alberta (where appetite for change is strongest) were most likely to agree with a variety of statements such as “Student engagement and keeping pace with rapid world change” are key challenges in education today.”
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment on this blog:
- What’s your take on these results?
- What innovative practice and programs are working in your schools?
- What is the biggest challenge facing your schools in 2012-2013?