Surveying for education satisfaction

As teachers prepared to strike last week, Chilliwack parents were asked by their child’s school to take part in a “Satisfaction Survey.”

It was not without irony that as teachers prepared to strike last week, some Chilliwack parents were receiving an invitation in their mailbox from their child’s school to take part in a “Satisfaction Survey.”

The survey is conducted annually by the B.C. Ministry of Education to help schools better meet the educational needs of their students.

“The data gathered,” states the letter, “is returned to the school and is used to inform the school goal setting process with the intent to provide the best possible education for your child.”

Students in selected grades are asked to take part in the survey, as well as their parents and teachers.

Deadline for completion of the survey is not until May, however the letter urges parents to complete the online questionnaire sooner rather than later.

The ministry might want to rethink that timeline.

With the school year disrupted by yet another labour impasse, parents may have some choice words about the state of education in this province.

For the parents of a Grade 12 student, this week’s walk out marks the third major labour disruption in their child’s school career. It’s yet another reminder of the dysfunction that has plagued labour relations in B.C. for decades. Only once since province-wide negotiations began has there been a negotiated settlement between teachers and their employer. Even under former NDP governments labour relations between teachers and government have been acrimonious at best.

Those relations aren’t expected to improve any time soon. Indeed, as the legislature was preparing to debate legislation ending job action by teachers, and public school teachers were walking picket lines, Premier Christy Clark was about to tour a private Christian school in Chilliwack. (The tour was cancelled when public school teachers showed up at the school.)

Amid this chronic labour dysfunction, parents can’t help but ask what impact this turmoil is having on their child’s education – and their school’s ability to “provide the best possible education.”

Their answers to question 21 of the Satisfaction Survey should prove interesting. It asks, “ Does your child’s report card provide clear information about his/her progress?”