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Breaking Down the EdChoice “Surveying State Legislators” Report

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In Surveying State Legislators: Views on K–12 Education, Choice-Based Policies, and the Profession, EdChoice Vice President of Research and author Paul DiPerna reports findings from a phone survey of 344 state legislators from across the country. We believe this is the first systematic phone-only survey of this population in more than 15 years. This Slideshare breaks down the findings to better inform educational choice and school choice advocates about state lawmakers’ opinions, behaviors and preferences.

For the full report, visit http://www.edchoice.org/LegislatorSurvey.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Breaking Down the EdChoice “Surveying State Legislators” Report

  1. 1. SURVEYING STATE BREAKING DOWN LEGISLATORS edchoice.org/LegislatorSurvey
  2. 2. Surveying State Legislators is the first comprehensive phone-only survey to ask state legislators how they make decisions on K–12 issues. EDCHOICE.ORG
  3. 3. We found many state legislators may be unsure of the fastest-growing educational choice policy in the nation: education savings accounts (ESAs). 29% Didn’t Know or Didn’t Answer. Based on what you know, or have heard from others… In general, do you favor or oppose ESAs? EDCHOICE.ORG
  4. 4. But once provided a description, we found the majority of state legislators say they would support ESAs, and the rest of the nation agrees. *edchoice.org/2015NationalSurvey Favor Oppose Legislators National Average* 61% 62% 30% 28% EDCHOICE.ORG
  5. 5. However, the majority of state lawmakers’ views on other types of school choice do not appear to be aligned with the American public. *edchoice.org/2015NationalSurvey Legislators National Average* 52% 40% 61% 33% VOUCHERS Legislators National Average* Favor Oppose 67% 22% 53% 27% CHARTERS EDCHOICE.ORG
  6. 6. Lawmakers are more likely to believe K–12 education in their home states is going in the right direction. Right Direction Wrong Track 49% 43% EDCHOICE.ORG
  7. 7. Yet the rest of America doesn’t seem to agree about the direction of K–12 education nationwide.* Right Direction Wrong Track 32% 60% EDCHOICE.ORG*edchoice.org/2015NationalSurvey
  8. 8. There’s certainly more educating to be done. EDCHOICE.ORG
  9. 9. And it’s up to educational choice advocates to find better pathways to inform state legislators. ? EDCHOICE.ORG
  10. 10. Here’s what we’ve learned about state lawmakers’ habits and preferences. EDCHOICE.ORG
  11. 11. Lawmakers' biggest professional challenges are: Time Use and Management Partisanship Budgets and Finance Constituent Services Working on Legislation 36% 27% 18% 17% 16% EDCHOICE.ORG
  12. 12. Most lawmakers love their jobs. On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely is it that you would recommend serving as a state legislator to a friend or colleague? Promoters (9 or 10) Passives (7 or 8) Detractors (0 to 6) 54% 31% 13% EDCHOICE.ORG
  13. 13. Though, some more than others. Northeastern Legislators Midwestern Legislators Southern Legislators Western Legislators 68% 47% 62% 36% PROMOTERS EDCHOICE.ORG
  14. 14. State legislators say they are frustrated because they spend: Too little time communicating on social media Too much time attending party-related meetings Too little time working on legislation Too much time fundraising 39% 21% 36% 17% EDCHOICE.ORG
  15. 15. Most lawmakers pay attention to different media on a daily basis to learn about K–12 education. Read Local Newspaper Personal Contact/Networks Watch Major Networks' Nightly News Broadcasts Watch Cable Network News (CNN, Fox News or MSNBC) Use Facebook Listen to NPR Use Twitter 41% 40% 31% 31% 26% 15% 11% EDCHOICE.ORG
  16. 16. But most of all, state lawmakers prioritize direct experiences to develop their legislative priorities. Communications with Constituents Professional Experience Personal Experience Caucus Leadership Interest Group Information Hot Issues in the News Surveys/Polls 85% 77% 76% 36% 27% 19% 13% EDCHOICE.ORG
  17. 17. And personal networks and experiences are their most-trusted sources when considering K–12 education issues. 79%Personal Experience Professional Experience Caucus Leadership Interest Group Information Hot Issues in the News Surveys/Polls Communications with Constituents 82% 76% 32% 21% 14% 12% EDCHOICE.ORG
  18. 18. Notably, the more likely a legislator is to recommend their job to others, the more likely they are to rely on the following to inform their voting decisions: -Caucus Leadership -Interest Group Information -Polling EDCHOICE.ORG
  19. 19. Our No. 1 takeaway? EDCHOICE.ORG
  20. 20. The work educational choice advocates are already doing—promoting research and data, engaging families—all matters, but… EDCHOICE.ORG
  21. 21. …because of their limited time and capacity, lawmakers likely prefer to learn about that work from the people closest to them—their trusted personal contacts and constituents. EDCHOICE.ORG
  22. 22. To contact the author, Vice President of Research and Innovation Paul DiPerna, email paul@edchoice.org EDCHOICE.ORG/LegislatorSurvey For more regional and demographic details from this survey, visit

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