Californians say schools need more money

Apr 19, 2013 by

ill Tucker –

Californians overwhelmingly believe their public schools need more money and then extra money if they teach low-income students and English learners, according to a statewide survey released Wednesday.

The results of the poll, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, showed seven of 10 residents supporting Gov. Jerry Brown‘s efforts to revamp how state schools are funded, shifting more resources to schools with more disadvantaged students.

In addition, nearly 80 percent of the 1,705 Californians polled want to see the state take a backseat role in how education money is spent, decisions that should be made by local districts or schools, another key component of the governor’s plans.

“The public is showing its support, but is also showing that they have real concerns about how the state has been funding their local school districts,” said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the institute, in announcing its ninth annual poll on education issues.

Californians are also less supportive of standardized testing, with 53 percent saying they are a good indicator of a student’s progress or abilities, compared with 63 percent in 2006, the poll found.

Yet nearly half of those polled say the quality of education in the state is still a “big problem,” although that was down from 58 percent a year ago.

The dropout rate continued to be the biggest concern among residents.

At the same time, 54 percent of residents say their own schools are doing an excellent or good job at teaching children.

“The mood about the state of California’s public schools has brightened somewhat with an improving economy and budget situation,” Baldassare said. “But many Californians are still worried about how state funding will affect their local public schools.”

The poll was conducted the first week of April and has a sampling error of 3.7 percent.

Yet, despite continuous cries from local and state education officials over the last several years bemoaning state spending on schools, California residents generally don’t know how state schools stack up nationally.

Just 36 percent know that California ranks below average or near the bottom in per-pupil spending, and just less than half know state test scores are subpar.

While a supermajority of those polled like the governor’s plans to reform education funding, the poll also showed Brown’s personal job performance rating dipped to 46 percent, down from 51 percent in January.

That’s probably because he’s been holed up since the November election to focus on getting bills passed, Baldassare said.

“We saw his approval numbers go up when he was out and about,” he added. “He’s very focused on doing his job. He’s less focused on the public relations element.”

via Californians say schools need more money – SFGate.

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