Ipsos Reid’s latest poll indicates that neither the BC Teachers’ Federation nor the provincial government has won public opinion in the ongoing teachers’ dispute.
In each survey question, men are more likely to favour the provincial government over teachers while women tend to choose teachers over the provincial government.
Fair and reasonable
Data shows that 39 per cent of British Columbians believe teachers and the BCTF have been more fair and reasonable in the negotiations. This is just 5 per cent more than the 34 per cent who are on the provincial government’s side for being fair and reasonable.
Nearly a quarter or 23 per cent are on neither side on the matter of who is more fair and reasonable. Just 2 per cent both sides have been equally fair and reasonable while 3 per cent are undecided.
When it comes to the opinion of parents who have children in public school, it is a near tie on who has been more reasonable, with 35 per cent selecting the provincial government and 33 per cent selecting BC teachers.
Approval of actions during dispute
On the topic of perceptions of the actions of both sides, 52 per cent of British Columbians approve the actions of the teachers while 45 per cent disapprove. The margin is much narrower among parents, with 48 per cent approving and 50 per cent disapproving.
However, the vast majority disapproves of the BCTF’s actions in the dispute: 59 per cent disapprove of the union’s methods while 39 per cent give their approval.
The provincial government performs worse in this question with 63 per cent disapproving and 34 per cent approving.
Caring about the interests of students
Students are at the crossfire between the two parties. The survey results indicate 41 per cent of British Columbians think the BCTF has demonstrated that it cares about the best interests of students, while 57 per cent disagree. Parents are much more negative, with only 34 per cent agreeing that the BCTF has shown it cares about the best interests of students and 66 per cent disagreeing.
The results are even worse for the provincial government with just 22 per cent agreeing that the provincial government has demonstrated that it cares about the best interests of students, while 75 per cent disagree.
When will students go back to school
One thing is clear: there is not a lot of optimism that students will be back in school this month. Only 30 per cent British Columbians think public school students will be back in school either by mid-September (8%) or late-September (22%). Other expectations include early October (26%), mid October (20%) and late October or later (14%). Ten percent have no opinion.
Expectations among parents are about the same as the overall public, with only 26% expecting students back in school before the end of September.
Feature Image: Classroom via Shutterstock