Archives for category: Opinion Polling

Carol Burris is a retired high school principal and executive director of the Network for Public Education.

It has been a bad year for the charter school industry’s trade association, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS). Their bitter campaign last spring to fight regulatory reform of the federal Charter Schools Program used the slogan “Back Off” to intimidate the President and Secretary Cardona. In the end, it was ineffective in stopping the regulations. While they claimed to achieve a few concessions, most of those related to issues that never existed in the first place. I estimate NAPCS spent upwards of one million dollars on the campaign, which included television ads.

As Republicans embrace school choice with the transparent motive of destroying community-governed public schools, Democrats have “backed off,” but not in the way NAPCS wanted. The latest poll by Ed Next, a pro-charter organization, found that only 10% of Democrats strongly support charters. Over twice as many Dems strongly oppose them. And overall support, even lukewarm support, for charters is only 38%.

And so, in desperation, NAPCS recently published a report entitled “Never Going Back” based on a poll they conducted. Its transparent purpose is to convince Democrats that not giving full-throated support to charters will cost them re-election in November.

Their poll data, however, is so profoundly flawed that it cannot be taken seriously. Frankly, it is an embarrassment for an organization that used to serve as the “go-to place” for information about charter schools.

Here is why.

First, NAPCS does not give full access to its survey questions and the possible responses from which respondents could choose.

We have no idea what the full array of survey questions was and what choices respondents had to pick from. This is critically important to allow the full expression of opinion. To illustrate, I provide a link to the full 2022 poll results presented by school choice advocacy organization, Ed Next.

While that survey has its own bias problems, it uses a full Likert scale to allow respondents to provide a nuanced response. Did NAPCS do the same? We don’t know. But given their outlier results, which I will discuss in greater detail later, it is doubtful.

Second, they oversampled parents of students in charter schools.

According to their report, 13% of respondents were charter school parents. But using their own figures from their 2021 report, Voting with Their Feet, only 7.7% of all students in either a public or charter school were charter school students. And that percentage excludes the number of students in private or homeschool settings, which means the percentage of all charter school students is likely lower than 7% of all American K-12 students. Although the percentage of families with a child in a charter school may be higher or lower than the number of students, a six percentage point difference is not credible. Such inflation, however, would undoubtedly skew responses in a pro-charter way.

It should also be noted that during this past year, public school enrollment increased from last year (although it is still down from pre-pandemic levels), and as we showed in this report, charter enrollment 2021-2022 is down; thus, the oversampling is worse than I described above.

Third, an examination of other polling data proves the fix is in.

Reliable polling results will differ by a few percentage points. For example, Ed Next’s recent poll reported that 52% of respondents give their community’s public schools a grade of A or B, while the recently released poll by PDK says that 54% give the two top grades–a record high. Results are aligned. Dramatic differences in polls taken closely in time raise alarms regarding the poll’s veracity.

Now let’s examine the NAPCS and Ed Next’s results on the question of school choice.

NAPCS reports that between 58% and 65% of parents strongly agree that parents should have school choice. Ed Next asks a nearly identical question—“Do you support or oppose school choice?” However, their percentage of parents who strongly agree is only 21%, a dramatic difference of about 40 percentage points.

Much like the school choice question, the NAPCS’ questions regarding support for charter schools are wildly out of sync with the Ed Next poll.

According to Ed Next, 51% of all parents somewhat or strongly support charter schools.

Yet NAPCS incredibly claims that 84% of parents (not interested in sending their own child to a charter school) support charter schools, and 77% of parents want more charter schools in their area. These results, in light of Ed Next’s data, defy logic.

 Much like NAPCS’s underreporting of charter schools run for profit, which we demonstrated in this report, NAPCS cherry-picks data to present charters in a favorable light. I guess one might argue that as a trade organization they are doing their job. Even so, their latest report is beyond the pale and does not deserve the attention of either the press or candidates this fall. And it further damages NAPCS’s already tarnished brand.

The latest Phi Delta Kappa poll about education was released, and it shows the damage that so-called reformers have done to the teaching profession.

On the one hand, public esteem for public schools is high. But most parents do not want their children to become teachers. Thanks, Bill Gates. Thanks, National Council on Teacher Quality. Thanks, TFA. Thanks, Michelle Rhee. Thanks, TeachPlus. Thanks, Educators4Excellence. Thanks, Walton family. Thanks, Ron DeSantis. So many to thank for smearing a great and noble profession.

Americans’ ratings of their community’s public schools reached a new high dating back 48 years in this year’s PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, while fewer than ever expressed interest in having their child work as a public school teacher.

Results of the 54th annual PDK Poll tell a tale of conflicted views of public schools — local ratings are at nearly a five-decade high and a majority have trust and confidence in teachers, yet there’s wide recognition that the challenges they face make their jobs broadly undesirable.

Just 37% of respondents in the national, random-sample survey would want a child of theirs to become a public school teacher in their community. That’s fewer than have said so in a similar question asked 13 times in PDK polls since 1969. It compares with 46% in 2018, a high of 75% in 1969, and a long-term average of 60%.

The reasons for this reluctance are varied: Among the 62% who would not want their child to take up teaching, 29% cite poor pay and benefits; 26%, the difficulties, demands, and stress of the job; 23%, a lack of respect or being valued; and 21%, a variety of other shortcomings. Just among public school parents, slightly more, 38%, cite poor compensation.

This is the case even as 54% of all adults give an A or B grade to the public schools in their community, the highest percentage numerically in PDK polls since 1974, up 10 points since the question was last asked in 2019. The previous high was 53% in 2013; the long-term average, 44%.

NPR released a new poll showing that, despite the loud mouths attacking public schools, most parents like their public schools and teachers.

They like their schools despite the hundreds of millions, if not billions, invested in promoting school choice, charter schools, vouchers, and privatization.

This poll suggests that Democrats should go after people like Ron DeSantis and other politicians trying to harm a civic institution that most Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, appreciate.

Last week, I reported a poll in Educatuon Week, which found that half the public thinks that schools should not teach about racism today. With opinion polls, the results are influenced by many factors, including how the questions are worded. A poll by CBS got very different results.

Greg Sergeant writes in the Washington Post that Democrats should take heart from a CBS News poll: Most Americans oppose book banning. Democrats should stop being defensive.

He writes:

As Democrats debate the GOP’s all-culture-war-all-the-time campaign strategy, here’s a maxim worth remembering: If you’re wasting political bandwidth denying lies about yourselves, you’re losing.

A new CBS News poll offers data that should prod Democrats into rethinking these culture-war battles. It finds that surprisingly large majorities oppose banning books on history or race — and importantly, this is partly because teaching about our racial past makes students more understanding of others’ historical experiences.

The poll finds that 83 percent of Americans say books should never be banned for criticizing U.S. history; 85 percent oppose banning them for airing ideas you disagree with; and 87 percent oppose banning them for discussing race or depicting slavery.

What’s more, 76 percent of Americans say schools should be allowed to teach ideas and historical events that “might make some students uncomfortable.” And 68 percent say such teachings make people more understanding of what others went through, while 58 percent believe racism is still a serious problem today.

Finally, 66 percent say public schools either teach too little about the history of Black Americans (42 percent) or teach the right amount (24 percent). Yet 59 percent say we’ve made “a lot of real progress getting rid of racial discrimination” since the 1960s.

This hints at a way forward for Democrats. Notably, large majorities think both that we’ve made a good deal of racial progress and that we should be forthrightly confronting hard racial truths about our past and present, even if it makes students uncomfortable.

Culture warriors in the Republican Party want to ban all teaching about racism, in the past or present. They pass vague laws that are meant to intimidate teachers.

Their rhetorical game works this way: If you focus too much on the persistence of racial disparities in the present, you’re denying the racial progress that has taken place. You’re telling children that race still matters. You’re not telling a positive or uplifting story about our country. You’re saying America is irredeemable. You’re trying to make children hate our country, each other and themselves.

But this polling suggests many Americans doesn’t necessarily see things this way. Place proper emphasis on the idea that racial progress has been made, and it’s fine to highlight the problems that remain, even if it creates feelings of discomfort. It’s possible to tell a story that is in some ways about progress but also doesn’t whitewash our past.

Education Week reported the results of a poll that showed that half of Americans don’t want children to learn about racism today. How will they understand the events of the day? What will they make of the national protests after the murder of George Floyd? How do they sense of hate crimes? How do they make sense of persistent segregation and inequality?

Madeline Will writes:

The public is divided on whether schools have a responsibility to ensure that all students learn about the ongoing effects of slavery and racism, a new national survey shows.

And as debates over how children learn about sensitive subjects bubble up across the country, Americans are also split on whether parents or teachers should have “a great deal of” influence over what is taught in schools, the survey shows. Republicans tend to defer to parents of schoolchildren, while Democrats tend to think teachers should get to decide how to teach about certain issues.

“These results suggest that not only are we divided about what’s the best curriculum, but we’re also divided about who gets to figure that out and who gets to decide,” said Eric Plutzer, a professor of political science and sociology at Pennsylvania State University who co-authored the report. “That makes it hard to solve a problem if we can’t even agree on the process, and it suggests that these kinds of issues are going to continue to come up at the local level, and we won’t be able to solve by consensus.”

The nationally representative survey of 1,200 U.S. adults, conducted in early December, was designed by the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State and analyzed by the American Public Media Research Lab. The goal was to understand how Americans think three controversial subjects should be taught in school: slavery and race, evolution, and sexual education.

While most Americans think schools have a responsibility to teach about slavery, only about half think schools should teach about the ongoing effects of racism. However, responses differed when separated by race: 79 percent of Black Americans think that students should learn about the ongoing impacts of slavery and racism, while 48 percent of white Americans think schools should teach about historical slavery but not contemporary race relations.

The survey also found that 10 percent of Americans don’t think that schools have a responsibility to ensure that all students learn about the history of slavery and racism in the United States.

As Orwell wrote, “ignorance is strength,” and in this day and age, it’s growing by leaps and bounds.

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.