Confidence in public education rising, survey says
September 07 2004
College poll reveals similarities, contrasts in teacher and parent opinions
Sept. 7, 2004 (Toronto) Ontarians say students are better
prepared now than they were a generation ago. Teachers say their biggest challenge
is lack of time not enough of it to prepare lessons, teach the expected curriculum
The Ontario College of Teachers’ second annual State of the Teaching Profession
survey shows that teacher confidence in public education in Ontario is on the
Public support for teachers is strong perhaps stronger than teachers themselves
may believe, says Marilyn Laframboise, Chair of the College, the licensing
and regulatory body for Ontario's 193,000 certified educators.
However, teachers and the public remain sharply divided on student testing.
Teachers vehemently oppose the use of standardized tests as a means to evaluate
staff or schools or to decide how money is allocated to schools or school boards.
The public disagrees. For example, 79 per cent of teachers oppose using provincial
tests to evaluate their performance. Twenty-eight per cent of the public also
oppose it, but 45 per cent say the test results should be used for teacher
The back-to-school telephone survey of more than 1,000 teachers and 500 members
of the public explored teacher roles in inspiring and preparing students for
the future, where teachers find satisfaction in their jobs, the effectiveness
of schools in the community and opinions about testing and evaluating students,
teachers and schools.
The College's survey on the State of the Teaching Profession in Ontario found
Ontarians say students are better prepared in computers and technology
(87 per cent), science (49 per cent) and math (41 per cent) now than a
teachers (80 per cent) and parents (54 per cent) believe that schools
are delivering the expected curriculum
approximately 60 per cent thought teachers inspired students to work
hard at school, pursue post-secondary studies and succeed in life
64 per cent of teachers say they are confident in the education system compared
to less than half last year
teachers feel that the profession (79 per cent), their schools (80 per
cent) and they themselves (89 per cent) are doing a good job
80 per cent of teachers say they get the most satisfaction from helping
students learn and grow, but an equal amount feel that more is expected
of them each year.
Public opinion and customer research firm COMPAS Inc. conducted the surveys
on the College's behalf. The sample results are accurate within 3.1 percentage
points, 19 times out of 20 for surveys of 1,000 or more and 4.4 percentage
points 19 times out of 20 for groups of 500.
Both teachers and the public believe that professional skills (literacy,
work ethic, math and social and interpersonal skills) are more important to
a student's future success than personal skills (the arts, athleticism, civic
mindedness or generosity of spirit). Both groups list literacy as a top priority
in skill development. The public, however, doesn’t think students have made
any appreciable gains in literary knowledge over the past generation.
The public tells us that teachers do a good job, that the quality of education
is improving and that teachers inspire children to excel. They share teachers’
concern for students’ success, but they want assurances and accountability, says
College Registrar Doug Wilson says the survey data distills deeply held thoughts
and feelings about public education in the province and can be used to stimulate
further discussion and needed change.
The good work and high standards of professionalism among Ontario's teachers
is being noticed and applauded, says Wilson. This survey is another tool
we can use to help teachers and the public communicate.
Few organizations have the courage to survey their members and the public.
It's a credit to the teaching profession that it has, says COMPAS Inc. President
Conrad Winn. The teaching profession can only benefit from an honest assessment
of how its members and those they serve feel about education today.
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The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates the profession
of teaching in the public interest. It sets standards of practice and ethical
standards, conducts disciplinary hearings and accredits teacher education
programs affecting its 193,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions
across Ontario. The College is the largest self-regulatory body in Canada.
Visit the College's web site at www.oct.ca to
see the survey and the results.
For more information:
416-961-8800 ext. 255
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 255