Archives for category: Opinion Polling

NPR reported the results of a survey that correlated COVID death rates in thousands of counties by political affiliations. The counties carried by Trump in 2020 had higher COVID death rates than those that went for Biden.

This is not surprising since so many Republican elected officials—local, state, and national—have opposed mask mandates and vaccination mandates while supporting quack remedies.

Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden. That’s according to a new analysis by NPR that examines how political polarization and misinformation are driving a significant share of the deaths in the pandemic…

NPR looked at deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. from May 2021, the point at which vaccinations widely became available. People living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.7 times the death rates of those that went for Biden. Counties with an even higher share of the vote for Trump saw higher COVID-19 mortality rates.

In October, the reddest tenth of the country saw death rates that were six times higher than the bluest tenth, according to Charles Gaba, an independent health care analyst who’s beentracking partisanship trends during the pandemicand helped to review NPR’s methodology. Those numbers have dropped slightly in recent weeks, Gaba says: “It’s back down to around 5.5 times higher.”

The trend was robust, even when controlling for age, which is the primary demographic risk of COVID-19 mortality. The data also reveal a major contributing factor to the death rate difference: The higher the vote share for Trump, the lower the vaccination rate….the rate of Republican vaccination against COVID-19 has flatlined at just 59%, according to the latest numbers from Kaiser. By comparison, 91% of Democrats are vaccinated….

Being unvaccinated increases the risk of death from COVID-19 dramatically, according to the CDC. The vast majority of deaths since May, around 150,000, have occurred among the unvaccinated, says Peter Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post amplified these findings in his report that COVID death rates are lower in the most-vaccinated big counties than in less-vaccinated counties. Vaccinations save lives.

He wrote:

About 1 in 420 Americans has died of covid-19, according to official data. And we’re still averaging more than 1,000 deaths per day.

But in certain areas — and indeed in many areas in which the population is much more tightly packed and the coronavirus could transmit more easily — the story is far less grim. A big reason: widespread vaccination. Death rates are far below the national average in the most-vaccinated, often-urban areas.

Much has been written about the yawning gap in outcomes between less-vaccinated and more-vaccinated areas, especially as deaths in less-vaccinated, red states significantly and increasingly outpace more-vaccinated, blue states. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump also reported this week that deaths in red counties are more than 50 percent higher than in blue counties.

But even that might undersell just how beneficial vaccination is in preventing the worst that the coronavirus has to offer — particularly when adopted on a grand scale in a given area…

Perhaps the most highly vaccinated large county in America, according to New York Times data, is Montgomery County, Md., just outside the District of Columbia. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 93 percent of those 12 and older there are fully vaccinated, compared to around 70 percent nationally. The number dying over the past week is eight times as high nationally — 3.4 per 1 million — as it is in Montgomery County — 0.4 per 1 million — even as Montgomery County is near some virus hotspots.


The relative rate is similar in two of the handful of other most-vaccinated large counties in the country: Dane County, Wis. (home to Madison), where 86 percent of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated, per the CDC, and San Francisco, where 84 percent are vaccinated. Dane County also has 0.4 deaths per 1 million despite being in one of the most hard-hit regions, the Midwest.

Slightly fewer people 12 and over are vaccinated in New York City, though still north of 80 percent. Over the past week, it has registered a per-capita death rate about one-third the national average.

The evidence that the vaccines are effective is overwhelming, yet Republican governors and senators continue to spread misinformation and oppose any effort to mandate masks or vaccines. Conservative parents harass local school boards, demanding the “right” to keep their children unprotected from a deadly virus.

Donald Trump should be boasting about his role in pushing for the development of vaccines, which he called Operation Warp Speed. Why isn’t he publicly urging his admirers to get the vaccines that he funded? Why isn’t he encouraging followers to take “the Trump vaccine,” instead of standing by silently as his followers die?

Why are Republicans like Governor Abbott of Texas, Governor DeSantis of Florida, and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin promoting disinformation and complacency while fighting effective public health measures? Are they sabotaging their own base intentionally?

Steve Hinnefeld, Indiana blogger, reviews recent polls and reports that the public continues to prefer public schools to school choice. The public schools are the heart of their communities. They are democratic, overseen by elected boards. They belong to the public.

If ever there was a time for parents and the American public to turn against public schools, you’d think this would be it. But two recent polls show it hasn’t happened.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted schooling for a year and a half, forcing children to learn online. Schools have been under relentless attack for requiring masks and teaching about racism. State legislators have bashed public schools as they pushed to expand school choice.

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, reports the heartening news that support for school choice has declined in the latest poll by EdNext. EdNext is a pro-choice journal funded by the Hoover Institution and of there pro-choice organizations and individuals.

Support for Charters and Vouchers Has Dropped

Despite the myth that the pandemic resulted in an increased appetite for privatized alternatives to public schools, the opposite is true, according to a new poll just published by EdNext. Support for both charter schools and vouchers is down by substantial amounts. Only 33% of all Democrats now support charter schools–that’s an all-time low.  Less than half of all Americans (41%) now support them. Your constant advocacy for public schools and against privatized alternatives is paying off.

Democrats are beginning to see the pattern in the rug: Whatever is being pushed by Betsy DeVos, Charles Koch, the Walton family, and every rightwing foundation is not in the public interest.

Researchers at Teachers College, Columbia University, are conducting a survey on opting out of standardized tests. You can help them by completing their survey.

I am writing to ask for your help in promoting the 2021 National Survey on Opting Out. Thanks again for all your feedback and help with our research project.

Over the past five years, our research team at Teachers College, Columbia University has conducted a series of studies of the Opt Out movement. Our studies are not associated with any grant or other funding from either public or private sources. Therefore, our analysis is completely independent.

Our main project is the National Survey on Opting Out, which we conducted twice in 2016 and 2018. The purpose of the Survey is to understand who is involved in the Opt Out movement and why. We define involvement in broad terms to include parents who opt their children out of standardized testing and others who sympathize with the Opt Out movement. The survey is informed by interviews and conversations we had with activists around the country (e.g., Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington). For New York, we relied on extensive interviews conducted by David Hursh and Bob Lingard; among others they interviewed Jeanette Deutermann and Lisa Rudley.

We would appreciate your help in promoting the 2021 National Survey on Opting Out. Feel free to share the link with your contacts and on social media. We are active on social media, with updates about the study:  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OptOutNtlSurvey
Twitter: @OptOutNtlSurvey

The survey is anonymous and responses are confidential. The survey is shorter than last time and should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Link: https://tccolumbia.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6i2cmIQ2O3L9ggu

Thank you in advance for your support!

Oren Pizmony-Levy & Nancy Green Saraisky

—-
Oren Pizmony-Levy, PhD
Associate Professor & Program Director 
International & Comparative Education Program
Department of International and Transcultural Studies
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 West 120th Street
370 Grace Dodge Hall
Box 55
New York, NY 10027

Tel (office): 212-678-3180

Email: pizmony-levy@tc.columbia.edu
Website: http://orenpizmonylevy.com/

Maurice Cunningham is a professor political science at the University of Massachusetts who has developed a unique talent for exposing the workings of Dark Money in education. The usual source of Dark Money is the multi-billionaire Walton Family, but they are not alone. In this post, he reviews the remarkable story told by the media in Rhode Island. A group of ordinary moms got together to demand charter schools. They set up a website and commissioned a poll done by President Biden’s pollster. Where did the money come from? The media forgot to ask that question. The media’s lack of curiosity about the funding behind this group of moms is curious.

On February 25, five “frustrated mothers” organized to raise money for their passion: charter schools.

What we see here is quite common, a front purporting to be parents but actually funded and acting for wealthy privatization interests. In Massachusetts, Massachusetts Parents United claims to have been founded in 2017 by three moms in a library. From 2017-2019 MPU and its allied 501(c)(4) took in over $3.3 million (actually more, for technical reasons I won’t get into) and about half of that came from the Walton Family Foundation. The organization’s “mom-in-chief” paid herself just short of $400,000 in 2018-19. In 2020 the same mom founded the National Parents Union, which is not national, not parents, and not a union. But it is a money pit. Its financial backers include the Waltons, Charles Koch, and a boatload of America’s wealthiest oligarchs.

And you’ll never guess! But advocacy through polling is a major component of National Parents Union’s marketing strategy.

The story Golocalprov fell for is one of scrappy moms facing off against hidebound unions. But the real story is corporate and oligarchic interests masquerading behind parents versus teachers and the very notion of the public good.

Let’s hope that Maurice Cunningham is able to stir the Rhode Island news media to dig deeper and find out whose money is shaping the attack on the public schools of Providence.

The American Federation of Teachers released a new poll about reopening the schools during the pandemic:

Contact:
Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637
c: 607-280-6603
acrook@aft.org
http://www.aft.org

New Poll Shows America’s Parents, Teachers Want ‘Safety First’ on School Reopenings

Trump and DeVos’ Ruinous Agenda Rejected, Comfort with Return to Brick-and-Mortar Schools Significantly Higher when Protections, Funding in Place

WASHINGTON—The nation’s teachers and parents are seeing through the Trump administration’s chaos and disinformation over reopening schools this fall, new polling shows. And while supermajorities of the poll’s respondents fear they or their child will be infected with the virus, they are united behind the need to secure safety measures and the resources to pay for them, so students can return to in-person learning.

Sixty-eight percent of parents—including 82 percent of Black parents—and 77 percent of teachers say protecting the health of students and staff should be the primary factor in weighing whether, how and when schools should open their doors for in-person instruction, according to the survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates.

Just 21 percent of parents and 14 percent of teachers say schools should reopen on a normal in-person basis—as demanded by President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos—and significant majorities reject the administration’s plan to strip federal aid from schools that don’t comply.

With the coronavirus still spreading rapidly in large swaths of the country, majorities of both parents and teachers worry their districts will move too quickly to fully reopen, rather than too slowly.

Majorities of teachers (60 percent) and parents (54 percent) are not comfortable starting the school year in person, and concern for personal safety is the top reason they remain leery. But, crucially, when safety protections such as masks, daily deep cleaning and sanitizing, physical distancing, proper ventilation and the funding to provide them are in place, 71 percent of parents and 79 percent of teachers are comfortable returning.

Parents and teachers voice high levels of concern about the personal risks of coronavirus infection. And 1 in 3 teachers say the pandemic has made them more likely to leave teaching earlier than they planned. Most teachers say they have purchased personal protective equipment for themselves (86 percent) or their students (11 percent).

Overall, half of parents and teachers report their schools are opening with at least some in-person instruction, with 2 in 5 schools opening remotely. Parents think remote learning has had a more negative impact on their children’s social-emotional health than on their academic progress. Most parents feel an adult will need to be with their child for remote learning; 3 in 10 of them say it will be difficult to make this happen.

Hart Research conducted the comprehensive national survey on behalf of the American Federation of Teachers, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the NAACP.

AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “Parents and teachers are on the same page when it comes to school reopening—and they are united in the belief that we must protect our students, educators and communities’ safety and health and reject President Trump and Betsy DeVos’ agenda to strip schools of funding if they don’t fully reopen.

“We all want to get back to in-person learning, but that should not happen until there are COVID-19 safety measures in place and the funding to pay for them. While teachers and parents have been toiling for months to try and reopen, Trump downplayed the virus. While the president never misses an opportunity to threaten schools, or to sow confusion or chaos, he and DeVos were missing in action when it came to planning and resourcing what should have been the country’s biggest priority: reopening schools for our kids. Indeed, the only guidance DeVos has issued for this year is to mandate standardized high-stakes tests. One just wonders why kids’ and teachers’ health can be dispensable, but high-stakes testing is not.”

NAACP Vice President of Civic Engagement Jamal Watkins said: “The facts: Data, analytics and example after example have proven that the school system today is still fraught with unequal funding, environmental racism and toxic stress to which students of color are exposed—and the underlying factor is structural racism. With the mismanagement of COVID-19 and the failure of both the Trump administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, we are deeply concerned that reopening without key guardrails and a true plan that puts students, parents, educators and staff first is a disaster that will continue to unfold.

“We stand with the AFT and will use every action and tool available to us, from serving on state and local reopening committees to filing lawsuits and other advocacy actions against unsafe and unsound plans, or the faulty implementation of plans. Nothing is off the table when it comes to the safety and health of those on the frontlines in America’s schools.”

AROS Executive Director Keron Blair said: “Parents, educators and students are united in thinking that Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos have not done enough to keep our children and communities safe as they press for the reopening of schools. We have also seen that where remote learning is being offered, adequate technology has not been provided to make access to learning equitable. The coronavirus pandemic is a health crisis. It is a racial justice crisis. And it is, for sure, a crisis and failure of leadership. The information revealed in this poll strengthens our claims and adds necessary fuel to the fights that parents and educators are leading for the safe and equitable reopening of schools.”

Sindy Benavides, CEO of LULAC, said: “Our nation’s classrooms are a microcosm of what is occurring everywhere in our country during this pandemic, and we now know that even children are not immune in close proximity among themselves or with others. The only difference is that what we, as adults, decide to do is our choice, while students are being mandated, and by extension their teachers and school staff, to re-enter spaces that at present pose a risk of exposure to the virus. Latino parents are facing disproportionate challenges, including higher numbers of COVID-19 as America’s essential workers, higher unemployment rates, and lack of access to technology. LULAC has always viewed public education as an essential component for the progress of an individual and our community. However, we cannot in good faith support sending our youngsters into possible harm’s way while some elected officials play politics with their lives.”

The online poll of 1,001 parents of public school K-12 students, including 228 Latino parents and 200 Black parents, was conducted Aug. 26 to Sept. 6, 2020; the online survey of 816 public school teachers across the United States was conducted Aug. 26 to Sept. 1, 2020.

The full poll deck is available here.

##

Under the weak leadership of the United States, the global reputation of the United States has plummeted, according to a new poll reported in the Washington Post.

President Trump defended his handling of the coronavirus pandemic during an interview with Fox News over the weekend, arguing that he took “tremendous steps” early in the outbreak, which “saved probably two or two and a half million lives.”


But much of the world appears to think otherwise. In a new poll of 13 nations released Tuesday, a median of 15 percent of respondents said the United States had handled the pandemic well, while 85 percent said the country had responded poorly.


The data, released by Pew Research Center, suggests that the international reputation of the United States has dropped to a new low in the face of a disorganized response to the novel coronavirus.

The country leads the world in virus-related deaths.


International affairs analysts say it may be difficult to repair the damage to the United States’ standing overseas.

Among some traditional allies like Germany, views of the United States have declined to the lowest levels since Pew began tracking them nearly two decades ago.

The Economist Magazine has a feature that calculates the likely outcome of the American presidential election. After a week of theTrump Convention, studded with lies and boasts, this was a quick picker-upper.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Tessa Benavides

tbenavides@ryht.org

(210) 445-3965

First-of-its-kind Poll Reveals Texans Trust Teachers, and Have Concerns About School Testing and Funding

AUSTIN, TX (February 20, 2020) The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation has released a first-of-its kind statewide poll about Texans’ attitudes toward public education. Notable findings include Texans appreciate teachers, but have concerns about testing and the lack of funding for schools. The poll found that 77 percent of Texans express trust and confidence in their teachers, much higher than the 61 percent of Americans polled on the same question.

The poll was released during a press conference this morning. There is footage from today’s press conference available in both English and Spanish for any future use:https://www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/2020-poll-resources/.

Names of those participating in the press conference:

  • English
    • Dr. Shari Albright, President, Raise Your Hand Texas
    • Gary Langer, President, Langer Research Associates
  • Spanish
    • Max Rombardo, Research Associate, Raise Your Hand Texas

The Foundation modeled the poll after the longstanding national PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Langer Research Associates, PDK’s polling firm and the producer of the weekly Washington Post–ABC News poll, conducted the research.

View our comprehensive digital media kit here: https://www.raiseyourhandtexas.org/2020-poll-resources/. It includes b-roll and photos for media use, as well as downloadable copies of the full poll report and toplines.

———————————————————

First-of-its-kind Poll Reveals Texans Trust Teachers, and Have Concerns About School Testing and Funding

 

– Inaugural “PDK of Texas” poll highlights statewide perceptions

on key public education topics –

 

AUSTIN, TX (February 18, 2020) — A new statewide poll on Texans’ attitudes toward public education found they appreciate teachers, but have concerns about testing and the lack of funding for schools.

 

The poll, commissioned by the non-profit Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation, found that 77 percent of Texans express trust and confidence in their teachers, much higher than the 61 percent of Americans polled on the same question.

 

The Foundation modeled the poll after the longstanding nationalPDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Langer Research Associates, PDK’s polling firm and the producer of the weekly Washington Post-ABC News poll, conducted the research.

 

“We’re pleased to be the first organization in the country to commit to an annual statewide poll about public education issues,” Foundation President Shari Albright said. “The work of PDK is the most respected in the field, providing insight into the perceptions and trends in Americans’ attitudes toward public education. We thought it important to provide this service to Texans on an annual basis, both to understand the challenges and help find ways to improve our public schools.”

 

“Kudos to Raise Your Hand Texas for conducting this poll,”  said Dr. Joshua Starr, Chief Executive Officer of PDK International. “Like most Americans, Texans want more funding for schools, support their teachers, have concerns about testing, and want more attention paid to student social-emotional competencies. And, while there are some different perspectives based on income, geography, and race, there’s no doubt that Texans, like most Americans, support their local schools and want to see an increased investment in them.”

 

Other major findings show that, while teachers are important to school quality, Texans believe they are undervalued. The poll also found:

 

  • 93 percent of Texans say teacher quality is extremely or very important in overall school quality
  • 71 percent see teachers as undervalued in society
  • 70 percent say teacher pay is too low
  • 60 percent are not confident that state standardized tests effectively measure how well a student is learning
  • 59 percent believe their community’s public schools have too little money

 

When rating public schools as a whole, the more closely connected respondents are to a school, the higher they rate it, a trend reflected in the national research. The poll found 68 percent of Texas parents would give their oldest child’s campus an A or B grade. Overall, 48 percent of Texas gave the schools in their community an A or B grade, higher than the 44 percent of Americans who give their community’s schools the same high marks.

 

“This poll reflects positive sentiment toward our public schools,” Albright said. “The challenge is in ensuring schools have the resources they need to educate every child, starting with a well-trained teacher in every classroom and a strong leader on every campus. We must also ensure students and schools are assessed fairly. Though we still have work to do, I am confident Texas is moving in the right direction.”

 

# # #

ABOUT THE RAISE YOUR HAND TEXAS FOUNDATION

The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation develops and strengthens school leaders and teachers, engages families in the educational experience, and advances classroom learning with innovative instructional practices to benefit all students. For more information, visit RYHTFoundation.org.

 

A Corporate Reform group in Tennessee released its own poll claiming that most voters in the state approve of annual testing.

The group called SCORE was created in 2009 by former Republican Senator Bill Frist to promote the Common Core State Standards. Being fast to accept CCSS before they were finished or even released put Tennessee in an advantageous spot for Race to the Top funding. The state won $500 million from Arne Duncan’s competition. $100 Million was set aside for the Achievement School District, which gathered the state’s lowest performing schools, located mostly in Memphis and Nashville, and handed them over to charter operators. The ASD promised to raise the state’s lowest-performing schools into the top 20%. The ASD was a complete failure. It did not raise any low-performing schools into the top 20%. Most made no progress at all.

Tennesse’s SCORE is a member of the rightwing network called PIE (Policy Innovators in Education), created by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute to connect groups that were disrupting and privatizing public education. Like other members of PIE, SCORE favors charter schools.

The board of SCORE is loaded with millionaires and billionaires who should be supporting the state’s public schools, which enroll nearly 90% of the state’s children, but prefer to disrupt and privatize them.

Five years ago, a public school parent blogger called out SCORE for making money off Common Core products. Open this link to see some eye-popping financial transactions, where RTTT money goes into the coffers of corporations owned by board members, who in turn make campaign contributions to Republican Governor BillHaslam. (Former Governor Haslam is now on the board of Teach for America.) The Gates Foundation helped to fund SCORE.

In addition to the oligarchs identified in the preceding post, the SCORE boards includes these super-wealthy Tennesseans:

Pitt Hyde of the Memphis Hyde Family Foundation. Owns AutoZone and the Memphis Grizzlies. The Hyde Family Foundation is the largest funder of the Tennessee Charter School Center.
 
Janet Ayers of the Ayers Foundation, also a funder of Common Core. 
 
Dee Haslam, married to the former governor’s brother. They own Pilot gas stations and the Cleveland Browns. Worth $1.8 billion, according to Wikipedia.
 
Orrin Ingram of the local billionaire family that has pushed charter schools.

Apparently the only plan that SCORE has for Tennessee’s public school students is to inflict Common Core and standardized testing.

SCORE has lots of money, but no imagination and no sense of the public good.

It is committed to charter schools, privatization, and accountability (but only for public schools).