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K-12 Education Reform - Missouri Poll Results

K-12 Education Reform - Missouri Poll Results

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Published by StudentsFirst
Missouri voters show strong support for a variety of education reforms. According to a recent public opinion poll, Missouri voters support a variety of K-12 education reform issues ranging from charter schools to teacher tenure by double-digit margins. This is not surprising given voters’ lukewarm assessment of the quality of education in the state and the perception by many that things are getting worse. Further, nearly three times as many voters believe schools need to be overhauled as believe schools are generally fine as they are today.

Education reform initiatives tested in this survey are highly popular and have broad bipartisan appeal. In the case of every reform policy tested, voters supported the initiative by a margin of at least 2 to 1. Importantly, these reforms won clear support from all demographic groups and among voters from both political parties. These reforms won particularly strong support among younger voters, urban voters and African Americans alike.
Missouri voters show strong support for a variety of education reforms. According to a recent public opinion poll, Missouri voters support a variety of K-12 education reform issues ranging from charter schools to teacher tenure by double-digit margins. This is not surprising given voters’ lukewarm assessment of the quality of education in the state and the perception by many that things are getting worse. Further, nearly three times as many voters believe schools need to be overhauled as believe schools are generally fine as they are today.

Education reform initiatives tested in this survey are highly popular and have broad bipartisan appeal. In the case of every reform policy tested, voters supported the initiative by a margin of at least 2 to 1. Importantly, these reforms won clear support from all demographic groups and among voters from both political parties. These reforms won particularly strong support among younger voters, urban voters and African Americans alike.

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Published by: StudentsFirst on Apr 10, 2012
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 TO: Interested PartiesFR: Kevin Ingham, Vice President of Polling & Research, Strategies 360RE: Summary of findings from a survey of likely voters in Missouri
Missouri Voters 
’ 
Views on K-12 Education Reform 
Missouri voters show strong support for a variety of education reforms.
According to a recent publicopinion poll, Missouri voters support a variety of K-12 education reform issues ranging from charter schools toteacher tenure by double-digit margins.
This is not surprising given voters’ luk
ewarm assessment of the quality ofeducation in the state and the perception by many that things are getting worse. Further, nearly three times asmany voters believe schools need to be overhauled as believe schools are generally fine as they are today.
 Education reform initiatives tested in this survey are highly popular and have broad bipartisan appeal.
Inthe case of every reform policy tested, voters supported the initiative by a margin of at least 2 to 1. Importantly,these reforms won clear support from all demographic groups and among voters from both political parties.These reforms won particularly strong support among younger voters, urban voters and African Americans alike.
Voters 
’ 
General Views on Education 
Opinions about the state of K-12 education in Missouri public schools are split.
 
48 percent of Missouri voters say they are satisfied with the quality of K-12 public education.
45 percent were dissatisfied; however,
very dissatisfied 
opinions were nearly twice as common as
very satisfied 
opinions.
However, voters clearly believe that substantial changes need to be made to improve the quality ofeducation in Missouri.
When asked to rate the amount of work that would be necessary to improve education inMissouri on a 1 to 10 scale, 31 percent gave ratings of eight or higher (indicating schools would need to becompletely or almost completely overhauled) and only 11 percent gave ratings of three or less (indicating schoolsare generally fine as they are today). Voters who were dissatisfied with education in Missouri were clearly willingto make substantial changes with 53 percent of these voters saying schools need to be completely or almostcompletely overhauled.
Charter Schools 
Voter support for K-12 charter schools is high and increases substantially once voters are given moreinformation.
When initially asked “do you support or oppose public charter schools,” 55 percent
of voterssupport and 20 percent oppose. However, support increases to 70 percent when read the following shortdescription:
“Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are independently run and operate under a
charter or contract that is approved and managed by local school districts. Charter schools are given more autonomy and have greater flexibility in curriculum than other public schools.
“ 
 
 
After hearing this description, support in rural areas jumped from 45 percent to 66 percent and support inSouthwest Missouri increases from 44 percent to 70 percent. Rural women, who were largely undecided beforethis description, became supportive, with 61 percent in support and 26 percent opposed.
Expansion of charters was supported by a wide margin.
After hearing the description of charters, 69 percentof voters said they would be willing to expand charters outside of the St. Louis and Kansas City school districts.Missouri voters under the age of 30 were the most intense in their support, with 75 percent saying they supported,including 50 percent who
strongly supported 
.
Clear Support for Teacher and Principal Evaluations 
Missouri voters expressed overwhelming support for teacher and principal evaluations.
 
75 percent of voters supported requiring all districts to conduct teacher and principal evaluations that arebased 50% on objective measures of student growth, with the remaining 50% based on other measureslike observations and parent feedback. 39 percent
strongly 
 
supported 
and only 15 percent wereopposed.
 
Parents were supportive by a 2 to 1 margin.
 
Support was equally high for principal evaluations, with 70 percent supporting and 25 percent opposed, with widemargins of support across all demographics.
 
Tenure Reform 
 
Tenure reform was very popular among Missouri voters, with high levels of intensity.
 
72 percent of voters expressed support for reforming tenure for new teachers hired after 2012 under theframework of yearly contracts and renewal of those contracts based upon classroom effectiveness.There was a high level of intensity for this reform with 42 percent saying they
strongly supported 
changes toteacher tenure. Both white and African American voters strongly backed the proposal - with over 70 percent ofboth groups voicing support. Support also ran high across rural, suburban and urban areas.
Strong Support for Ending Layoff Laws on the Basis 
of “ 
Last In, First Out 
” 
(LIFO) 
“Last In, First Out” (LIFO) reform was very popular with high intensity among nearly all major 
demographics.
73 percent supported LIFO reform and just 22 percent were opposed. This reform had thehighest intensity of support of any proposal tested with 46 percent saying they
strongly support 
the proposal. 68percent of seniors and 76 percent of young voters supported ending LIFO and at least two-thirds of Democrats,Republicans and Independents supported ending LIFO.
Bargaining Teacher Evaluations 
Voters supported reforming the practice of collectively bargaining teacher evaluations by a margin ofgreater than two to one.
When asked whether they would support or oppose ending the practice of includingteacher evaluations in union negotiations, 59 percent of voters were supportive and 26 percent were opposed.Levels of support for this reform were fairly consistent across demographic groups, with most groups supporting it

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