Archives for category: Opinion Polling

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

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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.

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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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hedge fund managers decided in 2005 that the best way to advance the charter school idea was to create a faux organization called Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), then to funnel campaign cash to Democratic candidates who promised to support charter schools. This worked for a time. Senator Barack Obama spoke at the inaugural meeting of DFER at a penthouse in Manhattan filled with Wall Street types. When Obama was elected, DFER recommended Arne Duncan to be Secretary of Education, and Obama picked him over the highly qualified Linda Darling-Hammond, who had been his spokesperson during the campaign.

But some Democrats realized that DFER was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The Democratic Party of California passed a resolution demanding that DFER drop the D because it was a front for corporate interests. The Democratic party of Colorado also passed a resolution denouncing DFER.

In 2016, DFER supported a referendum in Massachusetts to expand the number of charter schools, in company with the Waltons and big Republican donors. The charter campaign went down to a crashing defeat, after charters were denounced by the state Democratic Party and almost every school district committee in the state. The only demographic that supported the expansion of charters was members of the Republican Party.

Today, the loudest champion of charter schools is Betsy DeVos. The biggest allies of the charter movement are Republican governors and legislatures.

Sensing the change in the air, recognizing that charter schools now belong to ALEC and DeVos, almost every  Democratic candidate for President has steered clear of charter schools. Bernie Sanders endorsed the NAACP call for a moratorium on new charters.

But wait! DFER has commissioned a poll to demonstrate that Democrats actually favor charters!

Peter Greene says the poll is baloney. He explains it here. His advice: Ignore it.

 

Bill Phillis points out the annual paradox, reported in every poll about public schools: the public has a low opinion of American education but a very high opinion of their neighborhood public school, the one they know best. This is the result of more than thirty years of public school bashing, launched in 1983 by the Reagan-era “Nation at Risk” report. To the great frustration of the Disruption machine (“Reformers”), Americans love their public schools. That is where nearly 90% of the children are enrolled.

School Bus
2019 Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) 51st Annual Poll: implications for education policy in Ohio—first in a series
Grades given to public schools by the public
Most adult Americans have attended public schools. No doubt their experience in the public system and the experience of their children greatly influence the grade they give public schools.
Subsequent to the release of the flawed Nation at Risk report in 1983, many government officials have portrayed public education as a failing institution. Those politicians have spurred the creation of tax-supported, privately-operated education alternatives.
It would seem the public perception of public education would have soured given the way public schools have been attacked and the tax-supported options that have been made available. However, the grades the public have given public schools the past half century have changed very little.
In 1981, 20% graded the nation’s schools A or B. In 2019, 19% gave public schools an A or B. In 1974, 48% graded their community’s schools (not charters) A or B. In 2019, 44% gave their community’s schools A or B. In 1986, 71% of parents gave their child’s schools an A or B. In 2019, 76% gave their child’s school an A or B.
The type of district grades given to schools varied by type of district (urban, suburban, rural), race, income, etc.
Those closest to the public schools gave them the highest grade. People generally give their own schools much higher marks than the nation’s schools in general.
The remarkable take away is that in spite of 30 years of public school bashing, the perception of the American people has changed very little.
William L. Phillis | Ohio Coalition for Equity & Adequacy of School Funding | 614.228.6540ohioeanda@sbcglobal.net| www.ohiocoalition.org
School Bus

While legislators in Texas are following the school choice money, the public likes their public schools and teachers and wants the legislature to spend more on the public schools. They want more money for teachers’ salaries.

http://news.texasschoolalliance.org/2019/01/21/texas-public-education-perceptions-poll/

Pete Tucker, a writer in Washington, D.C., writes about a peculiar phenomenon: Opinion polls consistently underrate candidates who are progressive and who are black or Hispanic.

Predicting the winner (falsely) and underreporting the support for a candidate is a form of voter suppression, he writes.

Ayanna Pressley, a progressive African American congressional candidate from Boston, was predicted to lose by 13 points in the Democratic primary, but she won by 18 points. In the primary for a New York congressional seat, the final poll showed Latina socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez trailing the Democratic incumbent by 36 points; she won by 15 points. In Georgia, polls showed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, the African American former minority leader of the State House of Representatives, well ahead in the Democratic primary, but nowhere near the 53 points she won by.

In Florida, the nation’s third largest state, polls for the Democratic gubernatorial primary showed Andrew Gillum, the progressive African American mayor of Tallahassee, finishing fourth, with around 12 percent of the vote. But Gillum won 34 percent of the vote, nearly three times what most polls had him at, and captured the nomination.

Then there’s Maryland, where the Democratic gubernatorial primary was supposed to be neck-and-neck, but the more progressive candidate, Ben Jealous, walked away with it, beating his chief challenger by over 10 points and taking all but two counties.

While primaries are difficult to predict, today’s polls are not just failing, they seem to be doing so in a way that makes progressive candidates of color appear to have less support than they do.

These polling errors are far from harmless. Faulty polls can turn into real losses by suppressing both votes and funding. It’s not hard to see why: Who is excited to back a sure-loser? This applies to potential voters, who are more likely to stay home on election day if their preferred candidate has no shot, as well as to potential donors, who would rather support a winner.

What Americans Think About Their Schools

William J. Mathis

“Schools are not as good as they were in my day. Kids had to mind then. Not like today. Things are out of control.” Said in a variety of ways, over half the population agrees. The truth is that schools are a lot better in many ways — and worse in others.

Among the better ways, since 1971, when reliable records became available, 9 and 13 year olds have registered steady improvement in reading and math while minority students are closing the achievement gaps. The national graduation rate is at an all-time high of 84% and it has steadily increased since we passed 50% in 1948. Serving needy children is now the law of the land. There is less smoking, bullying and drinking. That is not a bad picture.

But the citizens have reason to see it differently.

On the nightly news, the latest school shooting will be the lead and the villain will be glorified with name, picture and amateur psychoanalysis (Note to Media: Don’t give the perpetrators personalized attention). School lockdowns, police tactical squad exercises, allegations of impropriety, privatization lobbyists, religious objectors, sports parents, angry parents, gun toting teachers, juvenile drug pushers, opioids, school closing controversies, publicity seeking politicians, and discrimination charges all find their way into the headlines and ooze into our collective psyche.

To get an even handed picture of the public attitudes toward education, Phi Delta Kappa, an honorary education society, sponsors an independent national poll each year. This year, it has some positive results and some things we should worry about. Perhaps the most important finding in this time of calls for charter schools and privatization is 78% of Americans prefer to reform the existing public school system rather than replace it with something else. This is the highest support level in the past 20 years and is an affirmation of the public’s will to look to the common good. Perhaps people are concerned about the fragmenting of the values that held us all together, the things that make us a nation.

As elections get closer, the perennial question of taxes is raised. Here we might be surprised. Even though the single biggest cost of education is teacher salaries and benefits, two-thirds of the citizenry think that teachers are underpaid while “an overwhelming 73% of Americans say teacher pay in their community is too low” and 73% would support teachers going out on strike for higher salaries, including about 6 in 10 Republicans. This is the highest support for teacher pay seen in the 50 years of the poll. For the last seventeen years, the lack of funding has been named as the biggest problem facing their local schools.

The citizenry also shows a strong commitment to equality even as the news brings us disturbing pictures of some folks wanting to refight the civil war. There should be extra programs and resources for children with special needs say 60% of the sample. The public also realizes that the achievement gap is also the opportunities gap. While recognizing the racial and geographic differences, the root problem is the income gap. We should be disturbed about the increasing segregation of schools and society. Low-income areas have lower expectations, lesser resources, and lesser achievement.

As an educator the most discouraging finding is that parents don’t want their children to be teachers. The public, nevertheless, has high regard for teachers but that does not translate into a livable wage for half the teachers in the country, reports Education Week. Teacher benefits are better than what are provided in other fields but the astronomical increase in medical and prescription costs is pushing negotiators to ask the teachers to pay an ever increasing share. Add a crushing college loan debt and the field becomes a poor economic choice. Teachers fundamentally like their work but the finances and ever increasing laws generate a bureaucratic deterrent. We face teacher and administrator shortages in a state that is losing student population.

As a society, we can be proud of our educational system and we honor our teachers. Large crises loom on the horizon particularly as manufacturing is off-shored, middle class jobs are eliminated, medical costs threaten people’s ability to afford care and as our nation ages. Of course, the answer is investing in our future and providing the skills and opportunities a new generation needs to sustain our nation and our planet.

The fiftieth Phi Delta Kappan poll can be found at http://pdkpoll.org/results

William J. Mathis is the managing director of the National Education Policy Center and Vice-Chair of the Vermont State Board of Education. The views expressed are not necessarily the opinions of any group with which he is affiliated.

Steven Singer reviews the latest Phi Delta Kappa poll of public opinion about public schools and finds that public support is at an all-time high, with one exception: Though people admire and respect teachers, they don’t want their children to grow up to be a teacher. They understand that teachers are underpaid and undervalued.

He writes:

According to the 50th annual PDK Poll of attitudes about public schools, Americans trust and support teachers, but don’t want their own children to join a profession they see as underpaid and undervalued.

In almost every other way, they support public schools and the educators who work there.

When it comes to increasing school funding, increasing teacher salary, allowing teachers to strike, and an abundance of other issues, the poll found a majority of people unequivocally in favor of endeavors meant to bolster learning.

In fact, support for education and educators has never been so high in half a century.

“Two-thirds of Americans say teachers are underpaid, and an overwhelming 78% of public school parents say they would support teachers in their community if they went on strike for more pay,” according to PDK’s Website.

[A NOTE TO READERS:I am posting on a limited schedule for the next week.]

A poll conducted by Education Week found that most educators—including those who voted for Trump—oppose school choice.

Opposition to vouchers is stronger than to charters, but both are opposed.

“Overall, however, charters were viewed almost as negatively as private school vouchers by the educators who participated in the October survey of 1,122 educators conducted by the Education Week Research Center.

“A plurality of those surveyed—45 percent—“fully oppose” charter schools, while another 26 percent “somewhat oppose” them. And 58 percent don’t support using government funds to help students cover the cost of private school, while 19 percent said they “somewhat oppose” vouchers. Meanwhile, about half oppose or “somewhat oppose” tax-credit scholarships, which give individuals and corporations a tax break for donating to scholarship-granting organizations.”