Public Opinion Landscape: Education September 2011
Table of Contents Executive Summary Political Context Current State of Education Teachers Policy and Reform Education and Technology 1 Slide 2 3 11 20 25 32
While education is an important issue for voters, the economy dominates the agenda.
People give significantly higher marks to public schools in their community than to public schools nationally.
Failing grades for national public schools are rapidly increasing.
While people hear lots of bad stories about teachers, the teaching profession is still highly valued and teachers still highly trusted.
There is support for public school choice, including growing support for Charter Schools.
Technology is seen as very important for schools and students.
People want technology used to prepare students for college and careers/not to save money by hiring fewer teachers.
Political Context 3
education is personally important… How important are the following issues to you personally... Not at all important, slightly important, moderately important, very important or extremely important? How about… Source: The AP-GfK Poll August 18-22, 2011. 4 % of those saying extremely important
…But the economy is by far the single most important issuE What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? [Open-ended] Not all answer choices and results are shown including “don’t know” Source: Gallup Poll, August 11-14, 2011. 5
Obama’s approval on education higher than other issues And please tell me if you approve, disapprove or neither approve nor disapprove the way Barack Obama is handling each of the following issues. How about… education? Approval Rating On Issues Health Care: 46% Taxes: 40% Education: 55% Economy: 36% Overall: 46% Deficit: 35% Unemployment: 40% Source: The AP-GfK Poll, August 18-22, 2011. 6
Financial issues increasingly seen as biggest problem for public schools What do you think are the biggest problems that the public schools of your community must deal with? Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011. 7
Effective Teachers seen as more important than smaller class sizes for higher student achievement Which do you think would result in higher student achievement in (elementary, middle, high schools): classes with fewer students and a less effective teacher or classes with more students and a more effective teacher? Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011. 8 ‘DK/Refused’ results not shown
9 Americans don’t want to cut education spending to reduce deficit I am going to read you a list of different programs that might be affected by efforts to reduce the federal budget deficit. After each one I read, please tell me whether you would support no reductions in this program, whether you would support minor reductions in this program or support major reductions in this program. Note: Program options have been abbreviated and ‘don’t know’ responses are not shown. Source: First Focus Quiet Voice Survey, April 13-18, 2011
But are divided about raising taxes to increase education funding Would you favor, oppose, or neither favor nor oppose raising taxes to increase funding for public schools? ‘DK/Refused’ results not shown Source: AP-Stanford University Education Poll. Conducted by ABT SRBI, September 23-30, 2010. 10
Current State of Education 11
Confidence in public schools Gradually decreasing, highest among young, less educated, southerners and democrats Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in the public schools – a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little? Source: Gallup Poll, June 9-12, 2011. 12
Majority of voters give Public Schools nationally a ‘c’ with Failing grades increasing… How about the public schools in the nation as a whole? What grade would you give the public schools nationally? A, B, C, D, or FAIL? Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011. 13 ‘C’ ‘D, F’ ‘A, B’ ‘DK’
… but majority give ‘a’ or ‘b’ to schools in their local community 14 ‘A, B’ ‘C’ ‘D, F’ ‘DK’ Students are often given the grades A,B,C,D, and FAIL to denote the quality of their work. Suppose the public schools themselves in your community were graded in the same way. What grade would you give the public schools here – A,B,C,D, or FAIL? Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
The closer people are to the schools, the more positive they view them Students are often given the grades A, B, C, D, and Fail to denote the quality of their work. Suppose the public schools themselves in your community were graded in the same way. What grade would you give the public schools here – A, B, C, D, or Fail? Using the A, B, C, D, and Fail scale again, what grade would you give the school your oldest child attends? 15 How about the public school in the nation as a whole? What grade would you the public schools nationally– A, B, C, D, or Fail? ‘DK/Refused’ results not shown Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Why people believe local schools are better than schools nationally Americans tend to grade the public schools in their community higher than the public schools in the nation as a whole. Why do you think this is? 16 15% 43% Greater knowledge of immediate community and local schools 5% Don’t know/refused Better community and parental involvement in the local schools 17% 5% Pride in the local community/no one wants to look bad Other schools must deal with high poverty and insufficient budgets Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Parents think their children’s education is better than what they received 17 In general, do you think the education your child is receiving is better, worse, or about the same as the education you received as a child? Net Worse: 22% Net Better: 56% Source: AP-Stanford University Education Poll. Conducted by ABT SRBI- September 23-30, 2010.
Among current students, Greater satisfaction with college than high school Overall, how satisfied are you with the education you received in high school/college? 60% 41% Source: The AP-Viacom Survey of Youth on Education, February 18-March 6, 2011. 18
Majority of Youth rate their high school and college as excellent/good in preparing them for future – colleges get better ratings than H.S. Source: The AP-Viacom Survey of Youth on Education, February 18-March 6, 2011. 19
Americans report mostly negative news about teachers in the media, but majority still have confidence in them Generally speaking, do you hear more good stories or bad stories about teachers in the news media? 21 Do you have trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching children in the public schools? Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Teachers get higher ratings than principals and school boards What grade would you give the following groups in your community? The teachers in the public schools; the principals and administrators in the public schools; the school board? 22 Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
The teaching profession remains highly thought of and much valued Do you think high-achieving high school students should be recruited to become teachers? 23 Would you like to have a child of yours take up teaching in the public schools as a career? Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Across party lines, people support teacher flexibility vs. prescribed curriculum 24 Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Policy and Reform 25
NCLB: Keep it, but with major revisions 26 ASKED OF THOSE WHO HAVE AN OPINION ON NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: What action would you like to see Congress take on the No Child Left Behind education law – [ROTATED: eliminate the No Child Left Behind law, keep the law but with major revisions, keep the No Child Left Behind law basically as it is], or don’t you know enough to say? Source: USA Today/Gallup, Jan. 14-16, 2011.
Support for charters growing…scale still depends on question wording As you may know, charter schools operate under a charter or contract that frees them from many of the state regulations imposed on public schools and permits them to operate independently. Do you favor or oppose the idea of charter schools? 27 *darker colors indicate intensity 43% As you may know, many states permit the formation of charter schools, which are publicly funded but are not managed by the local school board. These schools are expected to meet promised objectives, but are exempt from many state regulations. Do you support or oppose the formation of charter schools? 18% Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011./2011 Education Next- PEPG Survey of Public Opinion, April 15-May 4,2011.
Support for PUBLIC School choice, but not private school vouchers Do you favor or oppose allowing students and their parents to choose which public schools in the community the students attend, regardless of where they live? 28 Do you favor or oppose allowing students and parents to choose a private school to attend at public expense? ‘DK/Refused’ results not shown Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Voters split on rewarding teachers for student achievement Now I would like to read you several pairs of statements that might be made by policymakers about education, and have you tell me, for each pair, which one you agree with more.... CongressmanA says teacher pay should be based upon qualifications and experience. Given the many factors that affect student achievement like the home environment, it is unfair to tie teacher pay to student performance. Congressman B says that teacher pay should be tied to student performance. Teachers whose students learn more should be paid more, in order to attract good teachers and improve accountability. 45% Source: Resurgent Republic, Jan. 12-16, 2011. 29 *darker colors indicate intensity
People think a diverse set of criteria should factor in to teacher pay… How important do you think each of the following factors should be in determining a public school teacher’s salary: level of academic degree earned, years of teaching experience, scores the teacher’s students receive on standardized tests, evaluations conducted by the principal? 30 Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
…and those same factors should play a role when determining Teacher layoffs How important do you think each of the following factors should be in determining which teachers are laid off first if the school is forced to reduce the number of teachers: level of academic degree earned, years of teaching experience, scores the teacher’s students receive on standardized tests, evaluations conducted by the principal? 31 Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Education and Technology 32
Providing all students Internet access in school seen as increasingly important The federal government and some states have attempted to provide all students with access to the Internet in their schools. How important do you think this would be for the public school students in your community? 33 *darker colors indicate intensity 91% 80% 19% 9% Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Access to Computer technology also seen as important 34 ‘DK/Refused’ results not shown Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Support for increased investment in computer technology for instructional purposes Do you think the public schools in your community should or should not invest more in computer technology for instructional purposes? 35 Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Most do not want technology used to save on teacher costs - See it as important for preparing for college/career 36 ‘DK/Refused’ results not shown Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
Still skepticism about online classes/online education Suppose a school wants to offer a new class and is considering whether the class should be taught online or in person. Would it be best for the school to hire a more effective teacher who was only available to teach over the Internet or would it be better to use a less effective teacher who could teach the class in person? 37 Source: PDK/Gallup Poll, June 4-13, 2011.
For more information about this presentation or to find out more about GPG’s research capabilities contact: David Cantor (Dcantor@gpgdc.com) 38 The Glover Park Group Research GPG has a full-scale internal research team offering the full complement of qualitative and quantitative public opinion research services. We use research to inform message development and communication strategy, as well as to help clients assess and monitor critical issues and track the effectiveness of strategic communication campaigns. GPG has a deep experience conducting research about complex education topics with diverse audiences. We go beyond the standard Q&A, using innovative, projective techniques to uncover key insights. The result is actionable research that helps shape our clients’ messaging and strategy.