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ERIC Number: ED531339
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec-8
Pages: 75
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
New Mexico K-12 & School Choice Survey: What Do Voters Say about K-12 Education? Polling Paper Number 4
DiPerna, Paul
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The "New Mexico K-12 & School Choice Survey" project, commissioned by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research Incorporated (BRI), measures New Mexico 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 New Mexico's registered voters recently responded to 17 substantive questions and 11 demographic questions. A total of 808 telephone interviews were conducted in English or Spanish from September 12-18, 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 3.5 percentage points. In this project the author and his colleagues included two 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. Key findings include: (1) The vast majority of New Mexico's voters (78%) are paying attention to issues in K-12 education. Only 21% of voters say they pay no attention; (2) New Mexico voters are more likely to think that K-12 education is on the "wrong track" (52%) compared to heading in the "right direction" (34%); (3) Nearly two out of three New Mexico voters give the state's public school system sub-par ratings (32% say "good" or "excellent"; 65% say "fair" or "poor"); (4) Generally speaking, New Mexico voters have little idea how much is spent in the public schools. There is a substantial 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, New Mexico voters show a major disconnect between their preferred school types 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 15% of all voters, is "individual/one-on-one attention"; (8) New Mexico voters are much more likely to favor charter schools (72%) rather than oppose such schools (11%); (9) The jury is still out on virtual schools. As defined in the survey, New Mexico voters generally oppose the idea of virtual schools. Half of all respondents (50%) oppose virtual schools compared to those who say they favor them (38%) as a school option; (10) In a split-sample experiment, the author and his colleagues asked two slightly different questions about tax-credit scholarships. At least 62% (and as much as 71%) of voters say they favor such a system, compared with 25% (and as little as 17%) who say they oppose; (11) Voters overwhelmingly support a tax-credit scholarship system for special-needs students (78% favor vs. 15% oppose); (12) New Mexico voters support an "education savings account" system (also called "ESA"). The percentage of those who favor the policy (56%) is much larger than the proportion who say they oppose (34%); and (13) New Mexico voters say they are supportive of school vouchers. (Contains 1 footnote.) [This survey was co-sponsored by the Hispanic Council for Reform and Educational Options.]
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; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico