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Poll shows strong support for BC public education

A recent poll shows strong support for funding public school and post-secondary education, even if it means running a deficit in the B.C. budget.

Commissioned by the Coalition for Public Education, the Mustel poll, conducted in mid-January, showed 66 percent of those polled would support a deficit budget if needed to maintain funding of K-12 and post-secondary.

Eighty-five percent support more funding for public universities, colleges, and training institutes. By the same percentage, British Columbians support increased funding and expanded training programs to address the shortage in skilled tradespersons.

Eighty-six percent see investment in public and post-secondary education as a key component of an economic stimulus program.

Shamus Reid, Coalition spokesman and chair of the B.C. division of the Canadian Federation of Students, said in a news release:

“Our poll shows the public is worried about the current state of our education system. Since 2002, 177 schools have closed. Others need seismic upgrading. ESL and special needs programs are inadequate. Tuition fees have skyrocketed, massively increasing student debt. Cash-strapped colleges and universities have had to limit enrolment and cut programs. Trades, technology and apprenticeship programs lack funds to meet industry needs and to make BC a world-class centre for research and innovation.”

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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