Letters to the Editor

BCTF wants teachers to skip survey

Nanaimo teachers are being encouraged to ignore the B.C. government’s annual satisfaction survey.

The surveys are distributed to school staff, parents and students in Grades 4, 7, 10 and 12 each year, with the results published by the Ministry of Education.

But the B.C. Teachers’ Federation is urging teachers not to participate, a sentiment Carol McNamee, Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association president, echoes.

“It’s just that the key issues in education are just not the ones on the survey,” said McNamee, adding she has passed on the BCTF recommendation to Nanaimo school district teachers.

She said the satisfaction surveys amount to nothing more than a public relations campaign for the Education Ministry meant to lead away from the major issues.

She said questions such as whether school staff feel they have adequate funds to address the needs of students, or whether they feel class size needs have been properly addressed by Bill 33 are notably absent.

“Basically, what the survey is doing is setting up a feel-good feed for the ministry saying, ‘We’re doing a good job.’”

Her suggestion is for the ministry to create a survey in collaboration with school staff to better reflect the issues.

John Phipps, assistant superintendent, said the BCTF has issued the same message to its members for several years, which may have something to do with low participation rates.

He said last year, Nanaimo’s school staff participation rate sat at 10 per cent, compared with 18 per cent for the province.

He said feedback from staff, students and parents is generally accepted in order to assist the school district in improving education, but low participation renders the information less useful.

The survey can be found online at the Ministry of Education website at www.bced.gov.bc.ca/sat_survey.


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