December 13, 2018

Majority of Nova Scotians critical of government’s handling of public education

Almost 60 per cent of Nova Scotians believe the McNeil government’s actions, which include imposing a contract on teachers and eliminating elected school boards, have had a negative impact on the quality of public education, while only one in four view the changes as positive.

The results were collected as part of a poll conducted by Corporate Research Associates commissioned by the NSTU.

“It’s clear that the new system that was imposed on students and teachers is not living up to expectations and the public is growing impatient with the results,” says NSTU President Paul Wozney. “Meaningful and positive change can only be achieved through consultation, collaboration and compromise – unfortunately those are things the McNeil government has been unwilling to engage in.”

He adds, “The challenges that have plagued our education system for many years persist, but with the abolishment of elected school boards parents no longer have a place to turn when they have questions or concerns. These results indicate that the level of frustration with the government’s approach is growing.”

Other highlights from the survey:
-  83 per cent of Nova Scotians have a favourable opinion of public school teachers;
-  Only 17 per cent of the public think the McNeil government is doing a good or excellent job of managing the public school system, while 75 per cent rate their performance as fair or poor;
-  54 per cent of respondents believe removing administrators from the NSTU has had a negative impact, while only 30 per cent see it as positive;
-  43 per cent believe replacing elected school boards with a single advisory council has had a negative impact on student achievement, 23 per cent see it as positive;
-  65 per cent of Nova Scotians support the creation of a pre-primary program but only 1/3 believe the government has done a good job implementing it.

The survey was conducted by phone in two waves from October 3 to 21, and again between November 13 and 27. The sample included 400 randomly selected Nova

Scotians over the age of 18. Results are accurate to within 4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

A full summary of results can be viewed here: fallpolling.pdf