A new poll run by the Toronto District School Board has found that the vast majority of students, parents, and teachers in the 6ix are opposed to the Ford government's plan to introduce mandatory e-learning. The proposal by the provincial PC government is a huge "no" from the thousands of people in the TDSB community. Perhaps most notably, a massive 97% of secondary school teachers said they do not support the policy.

Students, teachers, and parents were asked to vote in a recent TDSB survey called "The Pulse" asking if they support mandatory e-learning.

Approximately 5,000 people responded, and the results are unlikely to make pleasant reading for Ford and Co.

According to the TDSB's release, 428 students from Grades 7 to 12 responded. They were joined by 1,938 parents and 2,730 secondary school teachers.

The participants were randomly sampled, according to the release. The survey was conducted between January 30 and February 11. 

The two major questions asked participants if they support the notion of mandatory e-learning, and if they think it's introduction across the board would benefit students.

The majority voted "no" to both.

A spokesperson for the minister's office at the Ministry of Education told Narcity in an email: "We remain committed to building a world-leading online learning system to strengthen Ontario students’ competencies in the modern economy.*

"We are proceeding with developing and implementing a made-in-Ontario program that will ensure student flexibility, technological literacy and a vast selection of courses, through two mandatory courses over the lifetime of a student’s high school career."

Meanwhile, TDSB Chair Robin Pilkey sent an open letter to Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce about the results. 

"I want to make it clear that the board is not against e-learning," Pilkey wrote in the letter.

"However, our survey found that there are significant concerns among students, parents and teachers related to your government’s plan for mandatory e-learning, including that they do not believe it will benefit students.

"It is also concerning that our students are now choosing their courses for the upcoming school year, with little to no knowledge of what your government’s e-learning courses will look like."

 

 

The first question in the survey was: "Do you support the Ministry’s decision to require all students to take two e-learning/online learning credits in secondary school in order to graduate?"

87% of the students surveyed, 81% of the parents and/or guardians, and 97% of high-school teachers said "no."

The second question was: "In your opinion, would mandatory e-learning/online learning benefit students?"

67% of students said "no" with 21% marking themselves as unsure. Those figures were 65% and 18%, respectively, for parents and/or guardians.

Among secondary school teachers, arguably the group with the most information on whether mandatory e-learning would be productive, the "no" ratio soared to 91%. Only 3% said yes.

The survey came in the midst of widespread and long-lasting strike action across the province.

Most recently, massive crowds of elementary school teachers and their supporters shut down a section of Front Street in downtown Toronto.

Even the government's attempts at reparations have not come without trouble, as it turned out parents affected by strike action had been overpaid their allowance by mistake.

Teachers have been frustrated with the PC government over their cuts to education and attempt to pivot on policies, including not only the concept of compulsory e-learning but also increasing class sizes significantly.

*This article has been updated.

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