Poll: The more people know about public schools, the more they favor education reforms

Jan 16, 2014 by

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A new public poll shows that citizens who understand their local school district’s academic condition are far more likely to support education reforms.

The scholarly journal Education Next commissioned a poll conducted by several astute political and education professors to gauge the public’s perceptions on local schools and their support for education reforms like teacher tenure changes, charter schools, and availability of private school vouchers for all families.

“Analysis of the new survey data show that when the public is armed with information about the local district’s national ranking, the share assigning an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade to the local schools falls by 11 percentage points,” according to Education Next. “At the same time, opposition to teacher tenure increases by 8 percentage points, support for charter schools increases by 7 percentage points, and support for making school vouchers available to all families shoots upward by 13 percentage points.”

“The public generally has a fairly high opinion of its local schools,” said Paul E. Peterson, director of Harvard University’s Program on Education and Governance and one of the authors of the Education Next report.

“But when told that their local school district ranks below what they had previously assumed, many rethink their ideas about the quality of local schools and the steps needed to improve them,” he said.

The knowledge of their local school district’s national ranking had the biggest impact on respondents’ support for making vouchers available to all families regardless of income, which jumped 13 percentage points. Opposition to the idea dropped from 37 percent to 25 percent when armed with the knowledge of their district’s national ranking, according to the poll.

Support for charter schools went up from 51 percent to 58 percent when those surveyed were told the national ranking, while support for teacher tenure decreased 8 percent to 25 percent. Interestingly, the poll found support for Common Core national standards remained the same regardless of whether those polled were aware of their local district’s ranking or not.

Another interesting finding centers on raises for teachers. About 55 percent of those polled were in favor of salary increases for teachers, while 58 percent of those who were told the national ranking of their local schools supported teacher raises.

“However, when Americans are given information about current teacher salaries, support for higher salaries for teachers falls from 58 percent to 34 percent, an extraordinary decline of 24 percentage points,” Education Next reports.

It seems as though the propaganda campaign perpetuated on the public by the national teachers unions over the last several decades has been effective in leaving people with the impression their local schools are doing just fine.

It surely makes sense that once citizens understand their district’s real academic condition, their support for meaningful reforms like teacher tenure changes, charters and vouchers increases significantly.

The same can be said for the public’s perception of teacher salaries. Obviously, many folks believe teachers are underpaid, but when they realize how much they actually make, it’s a wake-up call.

The moral is, the more the public understands the current state of public education in America, the more likely they will be to support reforms that would put our schools back at the top of international academic achievement.

Education reform advocates need to get the truth out!

Poll: The more people know about public schools, the more they favor education reforms – EAGnews.org powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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