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ERIC Number: ED527013
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct-27
Pages: 78
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Alaska K-12 & School Choice Survey: What Do Voters Say about K-12 Education? Polling Paper No. 3
DiPerna, Paul
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The "Alaska K-12 & School Choice Survey" project, commissioned by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research Incorporated (BRI), measures Alaska registered voters' familiarity and views on a range of K-12 education issues and school choice reforms. The author and his colleagues report response levels and differences (they use the term "net score" or "net") of voter opinion, and the intensity of responses. Where do the voters stand on important issues and policy proposals in K-12 education? They provide some observations and insights in the following pages of this paper. A randomly selected and statistically representative sample of Alaska voters recently responded to 18 substantive questions and 10 demographic questions. A total of 1,006 telephone interviews were conducted in English from September 10-18, 2011, by means of both landline and cell phone. Statistical results were weighted to correct for known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the total sample of interviews is [plus or minus]3.1 percentage points. Margin of error for the Anchorage sample (within the statewide sample) is approximately [plus or minus]5.4 percentage points. In this project the author and his colleagues included four split-sample experiments. A split sample design is a systematic way of comparing the effects of two or more alternative wordings for a given question. The purpose is to see if particular wording, or providing a new piece of information, can significantly influence opinion on a given topic. findings. Key findings include: (1) The vast majority of Alaska's voters (73%) are paying attention to issues in K-12 education. Only 8% of voters say they pay no attention; (2) Alaskans are more likely to think that K-12 education is heading in the "right direction" (46%) compared to being on the "wrong track" (39%); (3) Alaska voters are divided in the way they rate the state's public school system (48% say "good" or "excellent"; 47% say "fair" or "poor"). Anchorage is less positive (42%) and considerably more negative (54%) than the state overall; (4) Generally speaking, Alaska voters have no idea how much is spent in the public schools. There is a huge information gap; (5) When given the latest per-student spending information, voters are more likely to say public school funding is at a level that is "about right" or "too high" compared to answering without having such information; (6) When asked for a preferred school type, Alaska voters express a gaping disconnect between their preferred school type and actual enrollment patterns; (7) Nearly one out of five voters in the survey prioritize a "better/quality education" as the key attribute they are looking for in the selection of a school. The second most important attribute, as suggested by 14% of all voters, is "individual/one-on-one attention." Survey results indicate "socialization" (10%) is ranked third; (8) Alaska voters are much more likely to favor charter schools (72%), rather than oppose such schools (11%); (9) Despite low familiarity, Alaskans view virtual schools favorably. Nearly half of voters (48%) favor virtual schools compared to those who say they oppose them (39%) as a school option; (10) No matter how the author and his team asked the question about tax-credit scholarships, at least 64% of voters say they favor such a system, compared to 21% (at most) who say they oppose; (11) Alaskans clearly support an "education savings account" system (also called "ESA") The percentage of those who favor the policy (61%) is more than double who say they oppose (27%); (12) Alaska voters give clear, strong support for school vouchers; and (13) Alaskans support a constitutional amendment that would allow school vouchers (54% favor vs. 37% oppose). (Contains 2 footnotes.)
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Available from: Foundation for Educational Choice. One American Square Suite 2420, Indianapolis, IN 46282. Tel: 317-681-0745; Fax: 317-681-0945; e-mail: info@edchoice.org; Web site: http://www.edchoice.org
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
Identifiers - Location: Alaska