Nearly half of B.C. parents with children in school support teachers: poll – BC

A poll commissioned by Global News reveals nearly half of B.C. adults who have children in school support teachers in the ongoing labour dispute between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and B.C. government.

Twenty-five per cent support the B.C. government and 24 per cent support neither side.

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Overall, slightly more British Columbians support teachers (44 per cent) than government (31 per cent) with 22 per cent supporting neither side.

These numbers are nearly on par with the poll conducted in May that showed 41 per cent of people supported the teachers in this dispute, with 30 per cent backing the B.C. government.

When it comes to wage demands, most respondents (43 per cent) want both sides to compromise on wage negotiations, while one third (36 per cent) say teachers are asking for too much money. Twenty-one per cent say the government offer is too low.

Respondents were also polled on the class size and composition issue.

They were asked how they feel about the province challenging the court’s decision ordering it to restore past class size and composition standards and funding.

In January, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that legislation introduced in 2012 that removed class size and composition from contract negotiations was unconstitutional and awarded the teachers’ union $2 million.

The ruling ordered that class size limits, maximums on the number of special needs students and specialist teacher staffing levels be restored to what they were in 2002, when the teachers’ union first launched a court challenge.

The B.C. government went on to appeal the ruling, saying it could cost one billion dollars to implement the terms of the ruling.

Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of all respondents say the B.C. government should “fund the education system in the way the court has ruled”.

This opinion increases to 66 per cent among parents of children in public school.

But, 38 per cent of respondents say the “B.C. government is right to appeal the court decision and there is no way taxpayers should pay so much to meet these former standards.”

Among parents, this opinion declines to 34 per cent.

The Angus Reid poll conducted in May asked B.C. parents about the potential impact of the labour dispute on them.

Sixty-two per cent of parents said they thought the job action had an impact, but that they managed around it and 17 per cent  said the dispute had a major impact on them.

Two weeks later, fewer parents (53 per cent) say they’ve actually experienced an impact, while 19 per cent report a major impact.

Nearly one-third (28 per cent) say they haven’t experienced much of an impact at all. That is up seven per cent from May.

The online survey was conducted among 804 randomly selected B.C. adults on June 6 and 7.

A probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of +/- 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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