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Metro Vancouver Poll-ROBBINS polls grade 12 graduates at lower mainland public schools
  Jun 18, 2007

A random telephone sample of 500 lower mainland students who expect to graduate in spring 2007, expect to attend a commencement ceremony, expect to receive a certificate or other acknowledgment indicating they have graduated from grade 12 and the public school system, between May 20 and June 4th, 2007. This ROBBINS poll features a margin of error of 4.55%, 19 times out of 20 @95% competency (some students who said they expected to graduate may not). This poll was sponsored by ROBBINS ASK and Jim Van Rassel proprietor of New Trend Optical (604) 328-5398.

Question #1
Overall, how would you rate-assess the quality of your public education from grades 8 to 12?
Excellent    11 %
Good    28 %
Fair    49 %
Poor    22 %
Question #2
All things considered, and based primarily on your personal experience, did male and/or female teacher or teachers do the better job of making your public education the most interesting?
Male teacher or teachers    27 %
Female teacher or teachers    19 %
Both male and female teachers    30 %
Neither male or female teachers    24 %
Commentary
Observations:
Approximately (40%) of graduate respondents in this poll felt their public education relating to grades 8 to 12 was "excellent" or "good". In contrast approximately one quarter of graduating students considered their education "poor".
When asked which gender, or alternatively if both genders 'made their public education interesting' (76%) choose either male, female or both male or female, while one quarter responded "poor".
Commentary:
Grade 12 graduates from public schools in the lower mainland of British Columbia in this ROBBINS poll did not give public education 'overall' high marks. Male teachers were given more credit for making public education more interesting.
When the percentage of graduating students who thought their quality of education was poor and who were not of the opinion that either a male or female teacher made their education interesting, is combined with the number of students who don't graduate, the overall assessment of public education, by the ultimate consumers of the product, is not very good.
This ROBBINS poll suggests that the public school system from the Education Ministry through to the Teachers in the province need to seriously do some soul searching as these results are clearly not satisfactory.
One of the problems with education is (and may always be funding). Whether or not graduating students from this poll are drawing a connection between funding shortfalls and a luke warm reception to the public school system is not clear.
For our part, we don't have much confidence in the Campbell government on any of the 'social' files (if we have any confidence at all). The BC Liberals we find to be a little suspect at disclosure particularly around financial matters, so we might assume that at least in part complaints made by teachers and others regarding funding likely has merit.
Internally, the public school system has dramatic problems which must be addressed. One is the lack of accountability of teachers. Residential school taxes are around $1,200. The province pays the balance but it is still taxpayer's money. At a minimum parents should have a very sound say in what goes on at their children's school.
The folks on the PAC do a lot of nice work but this is no mechanism for accountability. Most teachers are very accommodating, but many are smug and take a 'screw you' attitude.
In a ROBBINS government these teachers would need help to pull out my size 12 boot from their 'arses'.
The school trustees and School Boards for the most part are a waste of money.
Here is the nut of the worst internal problem with our schools. Letter grades and provincial exams are important. They provide both the parents and the government with a 'standard' basis from which to assess their own childs progress. If letter grades are too generous or applied in an onerous fashion, the government exam should provide the parent (and the government) with a type of standard representation of how their child is performing. This doesn't provide the whole picture, but all things being relatively equal, they work.
There is a large group of teachers who don't like letter grades or standard government exams. They provide very attractive (manufactured) arguments for this. The real motivation is that these teachers want absolute "Nazi" like control of the teaching environment. They want to assess the child in their own image of what they think is necessary for education. They want to tell the parent only what they want the parent to know. The parent would have to rely on the teacher's assessment no matter how 'subjective' that can be.
Teachers that do not want any means of standardized communication going to parents, are dangerous. Anyone in any profession who receives money from taxpayer's/parents of school age children without proper oversight and accountability should be looked at very carefully by parents.
Some teachers will provide compelling testimony of their teaching experiences and their view of a 'proper' education for children, and will be the first to complain about class size, lack of funding etc., but will be the last, the very last to be properly accountable.
Ask your children's teacher what they think of items such as letter grades or some degree of standardized provincial testing. If the teacher's balk at this, find your child another teacher. These teachers and the system that will abide by them are the first to suggest that when a parent wants a letter grade or standardized test they must be proponents of the 3 R's, reading writing and arithmetic. This is just the 'teacher nazi' party line. Parents who care about standard expectations of communication regarding their children's education love art, physical sports and other elements of education which make the student 'whole'. What they want is the public servant, in this case the teacher, to be accountable to them for their child. Parents don't encounter the school board every day, so we don't want to deal with them, and we don't give a shit what they think. If we have an issue with a teacher about our children we want to communicate. That is part of the teacher's job desciption. If the teacher doesn't like it, get another job. Parents shouldn't have to kiss anyone's ass for this 'privilege'.
Here is another test. We have asked dozens of 'moms' about complaining or even asking a teacher questions about their child's education, and nearly all of them will either tell you directly or hint that they are concerned about teacher's reprisals for complaining. Go ahead and ask. Many of the mom's are terrified to make a complaint or to make inquiries. We have countless cases of 'teacher nazis' making parents feel like crap or playing games with students. Right now the biggest bully in the education system may well be the dysfunctional teacher. We need to reward the good ones, and get rid of the stinkers. This won't be the first or last time I talk about this.
These 'Nazi' styled teachers who don't like accountability will 'get' your child. They won't do it directly, but they will whisper to other teachers. A ROBBINS government would purge each and every one of these teachers out of the system in a New York second. Their mandate is control. They are communists, don't ever forget it.
Respondents complained about female teachers being there at the beginning of the year and leaving sometime during the year for pregnancy or some type of leave. Women have children that is a fact of life, and from time to time people need to take sick leave or a leave of absence, but children, particularly teenagers, require some type of consistency and continuity in their education, so it might improve circumstances if more male teachers or older female teachers were hired at the more senior grade levels. Although this might appear to be a little hard line, we can't ignore the fact that education if about consistency in expectations in relationships between student and teacher. It is simply common sense.
Last and certainly not least, a ROBBINS government would clean out lousy teachers. There are plenty of excellent teachers, good teachers, and too many average and lousy teachers.
It isn't my fault if the teaching profession in this province has difficulty accepting criticism, but this is the truth. Too bad if a few teachers don't like it. There are plenty of very good teachers who agree with ROBBINS, and don't say anything because they fear these few teacher-nazis.
I am not sure if the organization which oversees Principals and Vice-Principals is still in litigation with the Teachers, but we have an awful lot of input from parents about how dissatified they have been with meetings with Administration.
Of all the political files we look at, the one which gets the least attention, and probably requires as much or more than any, is the education system in the province.
Overall, we aren't getting our monies worth from either the government or the teachers.
Overall, we aren't getting our monies worth from either the government or the teachers.

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