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Education Poll: Canadians support school choice

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Public policy think tank released new public opinion research today on public education in Canada. Most notably, the poll found a majority of Canadians believe parents should have the right to choose which public school they send their child to instead of being restricted by school catchment areas.

“A majority of Canadians believe parents should have more choice when it comes to deciding to which public school they send their children,” said contributor Paige MacPherson. “Ultimately, if some provinces change their rules, parents would have more options and may be able to find a school that meets the unique learning needs of their child.”

Highlights of the poll include:

  • A majority (54%) of Canadians believe that parents should get to choose the public school to which they send their child, even if it’s not a school close to their house or even in the same division or district (33% disagreed, 13% didn’t know).
  • A slight majority of decided parents with children in public schools support the government redirecting some funds to parents who have pulled their children out of public schools. The general public is divided on this question (36% for vs 34% against).
  • 58% of Canadians believe that public school teachers put in a high or somewhat high level of effort since COVID-19 emerged (5/5 or 4/5). Approximately one in five (22%) Canadians gave teachers an effort level of 1/5, 2/5 or 3/5.
  • When it comes to the direction of the public school system over the past 20 years, 40% of Canadians believe it has generally gone in the right direction while 32% believe it has generally gone in the wrong direction. Decided Canadians give the changes an approval rating of 56%.

“Our poll also found Canadians are divided on the direction of their public school systems over the past 20 years,” added MacPherson. “It’s not clear what is driving the high number of Canadians who believe the system is heading in the wrong direction, but it’s a red flag for education policy makers.”  

The poll questions were part of an omnibus poll conducted by Leger of 1,539 Canadian adults between October 9 – October 11, 2020.

To view the results – click here.


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