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Public Attitudes Towards Education in Ontario, 1998:

Public Attitudes Towards Education in Ontario, 1998:: 12th OISE Survey

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 116
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  • Book Info
    Public Attitudes Towards Education in Ontario, 1998:
    Book Description:

    The twelfth survey is based on interviews conducted in late 1998 with a random sample of 1000 Ontario adults, and questionnaires completed by over 100 randomly selected corporate executives. Trends in attitude changes are presented for the general public and executives.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2321-7
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. viii-2)
  4. Highlights
    (pp. 3-9)

    Public satisfaction with schools in general has been on a roller coaster ride over the past two decades. In 1998 we find ourselves once again on a downward slope. Currently those satisfied with the schools are only slightly more numerous that the dissatisfied. Since 1988, when we last saw this pattern, opinions seem to have hardened. Fewer respondents are now sitting on the fence.

    Well over half of respondents are satisfied with teachers’ performance. The satisfied outnumber the dissatisfied by almost three to one.

    Between 1994 and 1998, the public has become somewhat more negative about perceptions of changes in...

  5. Introduction
    (pp. 10-14)

    Since the last OISE/UT Survey of Educational Issues was conducted two years ago, there have been more structural changes in the Ontario school system than during any comparable period in recent history. In September 1996, the Minister of Education declared that Ontario was “looking at the biggest change in the structure of education in the province that’s ever happened in my lifetime”⁵ In April, 1997, the Fewer School Boards Act became law, which led to the amalgamation of 129 school boards into 72 and the reduction of 1,900 elected trustees to 700 with capped salaries of $5,000, effective January 1,...

  6. 1 General Views: Satisfaction, Quality and Needed Schooling
    (pp. 15-20)

    In this chapter we look at the public’s general views and impressions of the school system. We report findings on:

    satisfaction with the school system in general, with value obtained for tax money, with student discipline and with the job teachers are doing

    perceptions of whether the quality of elementary and high school education has improved, worsened, or stayed about the same over the past ten years

    perceptions of whether recent policy changes have improved, worsened or made little difference to the quality of education in Ontario

    views on how much formal education is required to get along in society...

  7. 2 Funding Education
    (pp. 21-31)

    People’s willingness to pay for public services should be a basic consideration in government policy decisions. In this chapter we examine public views on issues of educational finance. The chapter is organized in two sections. The first deals with the public’s overall budget preferences for education and includes views on:

    general budget priorities: tax cuts, deficit reduction or maintaining education and health services

    preferences for increased or decreased spending on education in general and on specific levels of education

    spending priorities for new educational initiatives

    willingness to pay higher taxes for education

    The second section covers specific elementary and high...

  8. 3 Governing Elementary and Secondary Schools
    (pp. 32-36)

    This chapter deals with governance issues in public education. We report public views on:

    abolishing school boards and transferring functions to the provincial government

    whether recent policy changes have given the provincial government more, less, or about the same control over schools

    whether the provincial government now has too little, too much or about the right amount of control over schools

    who should negotiate contracts with teachers: the province, local boards, or principals and school councils

    whether school councils should have the power to hire and fire principals

    whether francophones should have the right to control their own French-language schools...

  9. 4 Re-Organizing Schools
    (pp. 37-41)

    This chapter deals with issues of school organization at both the elementary and secondary levels. At the elementary level, we report public views on what changes would improve student achievement. At the secondary level, we revisit the issues of streaming and what schools should do to support those students not continuing on to post-secondary education. Below, we report on:

    views on how a range of possible changes, including more parental involvement, more computers, smaller class sizes, more testing, more basics, a longer school year, universal junior kindergarten, more money, more teacher training and more special education would effect achievement levels...

  10. 5 Educational Equity Issues
    (pp. 42-45)

    Educational inequalities on the bases of social class, race/ethnicity and gender have been the focus of considerable social scientific research.¹ Affirmative action programs to address such inequalities can only be effective if they are combined with wide public recognition of these problems, however. The 1998 OISE/UT survey includes three questions dealing with public perceptions of the equality of opportunity in higher education.

    These questions are:

    perceived opportunities for students from lower-income families

    perceived opportunities for women

    perceived opportunities for aboriginal students

    In both 1996 and this year, we have asked whether students from lowincome families are perceived to have a...

  11. 6 Universities: Budgeting for Access
    (pp. 46-49)

    This chapter deals with issues of funding and access to university education. We report findings on issues of:

    guaranteeing access to university for qualified applicants even if this requires higher funding levels

    the least bad response by universities to budget problems: fee hikes, cuts in enrolment or program reductions

    how the university system should respond to the “double cohort” in 2003 and who should pay if facilities and staffing are expanded

    The impact of underfunding on access to post-secondary education is a longstanding issue. In Ontario, two recent government initiatives have pushed this issue to even greater prominence. The first...

  12. 7 The Importance of a University Education
    (pp. 50-58)

    The public believes strongly that a higher education is important. But what value and benefits are universities seen to provide for individual graduates, and for the society at large? This chapter reports public perceptions regarding:

    employment outcomes and income of university graduates

    non-material benefits to individuals

    what universities can contribute to strengthening the economy

    what universities can contribute to building a better society

    linkage between university enrolment and labour force needs

    the role of university research

    As noted earlier, in the 1980s in both Canada and the United States, public assessments of the importance of a post-secondary education moved sharply...

  13. 8 Education and Employment
    (pp. 59-62)

    Debate about how the educational system should respond to changes in the economy and vice versa has become quite pervasive in contemporary societies. Both workplace changes and educational reforms have led to frequent charges that the other sphere is failing to respond to these changes.¹ From its inception, and especially in 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1996, the OISE/UT survey has assessed public opinion on key aspects of these linkages. The present survey tracks trends in the Ontario public’s personal and generalperceptionsof the relations between workplaces and education, and their preferences on some proposedpoliciesfor more effectively linking...

  14. 9 Lifelong Learning
    (pp. 63-69)

    This section reports on respondents’ formal and informal educational activities. Topics include:

    the proportion who have taken an adult or continuing education course in the past year

    reasons for taking courses and credits earned toward diplomas or degrees

    use of public libraries and public television

    hours of informal learning, both work related and general interest

    Both formal and informal adult learning continue to be a significant part of adults’ lives in Ontario. The results from the 1998 OISE/UT Survey demonstrate a continuing movement toward a knowledge society.

    We asked about the participants’ experience with adult-education courses, as well as questions...

  15. 10 Background Differences
    (pp. 70-83)

    In the preceding chapters we have looked at patterns of consensus or disagreement among the public as a whole. In this section we examine differences in views across social groups. A wide variety of factors shape people’s attitudes towards educational institutions: their own interests and direct experiences, the perspectives advanced by those they talk to and respect, the pervasive messages from the media and public figures. Attitude formation is complex and any individual’s views are likely to be idiosyncratic in some way. Nevertheless, people who share important social characteristics are, on some issues at least, more likely to think alike....

  16. Concluding Remarks: Navigating the Knowledge Society
    (pp. 84-86)

    The importance of education continues to grow in the public mind. An increasing majority believe that we need an advanced education today, and want to see governments increase education spending to ensure accessibility and quality. As the barriers to both adult education programs and post-secondary education have mounted, the incidence of informal learning via educational television, libraries and many other, sources has grown substantially. We are now indisputably living in a knowledge-based society. Virtually everybody knows it and wants both more knowledge and better recognition for the knowledge they already have.

    The vast majority feel at least adequately qualified for...

  17. APPENDIX: Methodology
    (pp. 87-92)
  18. Notes
    (pp. 93-103)