NDP calling on the province to release more data from education survey

NDP education critic Carla Beck.

The NDP is calling for the provincial government to release more details about an education survey they conducted this spring.

On August 28, the provincial government announced that almost 9,000 students, parents and community members had responded to an online survey about what students need to be successful in school.

Students identified qualified teachers and a comfortable learning environment as some of the most important things to help them learn.

They also said it’s important to have a variety of options in terms of courses so they can work towards future goals.

The survey was conducted between April 8 and May 10.

Initially, the provincial government only released a two-page summary of responses.

That prompted the provincial NDP to issue a press release Tuesday morning calling for more details from the survey.

The NDP cited the province’s trespassing survey, which came with a multi-page summary and a list of anonymized responses.

After the press release was issued, but before NDP education critic Carla Beck could speak with reporters Tuesday afternoon, the province released some more details from the survey.

Still, Beck said, what the province provided is far from adequate.

“Up until this morning, we really had no breakdown of the non-students who had completed this survey, or any breakdown of what their responses were,” Beck said.

‘We now have a little bit of detail, but we think the minister needs to show his work and elaborate on the responses that they received.”

Beck said her party is curious whether responses in the province’s survey were similar to the ones to the NDP’s survey, which was highly critical of the number of resources available to teachers.

“Were the responses on theirs anything like the ones on ours, I understand why they might not want to make that public, but I do think this is a public survey,” Beck told reporters.

“I think it’s important the government acknowledge some of the concerns. It’s really difficult to address problems from within the education system if you’re not going to acknowledge they exist in the first place. That’s what we’re calling on the government to do.”

Beck said the reason the NDP also did a survey was that they heard concerns that the message being shared by the government wasn’t the same as what was being seen in the province’s classrooms.

“Those who worked in the school system … felt the reality was not being represented by the minister,” she said.

Beck said from her first glance at the additional data released Tuesday, it seems some of that frustration is visible in the provincial government’s survey

“Within the question asking about the positives in the system, a significant portion of those were coded as negative comments,” she said.

“I think that speaks to the frustration level … we’ve been hearing for years. Until we have all of that data, until we have an open and honest conversation in this province about the state of education, it’s going to be very difficult to gain the trust of those in the system. It would also be difficult to look at solutions if we’re not open and transparent about what’s going on.”