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ERIC Number: ED531348
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Mar-19
Pages: 87
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Louisiana K-12 & School Choice Survey: What Do Voters Say about K-12 Education? Polling Paper Number 7
DiPerna, Paul
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The "Louisiana K-12 & School Choice Survey" project, commissioned by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research Incorporated (BRI), measures Louisiana registered voters' familiarity and views on a range of K-12 education topics and school choice reforms. In this paper the author and his colleagues report response "levels" of public opinion. For some questions, they also expand the discussion to examine "differences" of voter opinion (using the term "net score" or "net") and the "intensity" of responses. Where do Louisiana's voters stand on important issues and policy proposals in K-12 education? They make an effort to provide some observations and insights. A randomly selected and statistically representative sample of Louisiana voters recently responded to 18 substantive questions and 11 demographic questions. The author and his colleagues' methodology included probability sampling and random-digit dial. A total of 2,218 telephone interviews were completed in English from February 14 to 27, 2012, by means of both landline and cell phone. There was a hiatus between February 19 through February 22 to account for prohibited Sunday dialing, Mardi Gras, and Ash Wednesday. The statewide sample includes 802 registered voters in Louisiana. BRI oversampled to reach another 1,634 total interviews in the following parishes to complete, combined with the statewide sample, approximately 325 interviews in each: East Baton Rouge (326), Livingston (325), Orleans (325), St. Tammany (333), Tangipahoa (325). Based on U.S. Census data, statistical results were weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the statewide sample is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The margins of sampling error for the parish samples are approximately plus or minus 5.4 percentage points. Key findings include: (1) The vast majority of Louisiana's voters (79%) are paying attention to issues in K-12 education. Only 21% of voters say they pay "very little" or no attention; (2) Louisianans are much less likely to think that K-12 education is heading in the "right direction" (34%) compared to being on the "wrong track" (50%); (3) Louisiana voters are much more likely to share negative ratings when assessing the state's public school system (34% say "good" or "excellent"; 63% say "fair" or "poor"); (4) Generally speaking, Louisiana voters do not know how much is spent per student in public schools. There is a clear lack of information; (5) When given the latest per-student spending information, voters are less likely to say public school funding is at a level that is "too low," compared to answering without having such information; (6) Voters are much more likely to give grades "A" or "B" to private/parochial schools in their areas, compared to other types of schools; (7) When asked for a preferred school type, Louisiana voters demonstrate a serious disconnect between their preferred school types and actual enrollment patterns in the state. Nearly half of the state's voters (49%) would first choose a private school over other school types. About 3 of 10 voters (31%) would select a regular public school; (8) Roughly equal numbers of respondents in the survey prioritize a "better education" and "individual attention" (14% each impression) as the key attribute they are looking for in the selection of his/her preferred school. The next most important attributes, each suggested by 8% of all respondents, are "teachers" and "discipline or structure"; (9) Louisiana voters are much more likely to favor charter schools (61%), rather than oppose such schools (22%). Nearly 4 of 10 voters (37%) say they are at least "somewhat familiar" with charter schools; (9) Louisiana voters solidly support school vouchers--63% say they favor the school choice policy compared to 29% who say they oppose such a voucher system. Almost 4 of 10 voters (39%) say they are at least "somewhat familiar" with school vouchers; (10) Voters from across the state, and across many demographics, support the Student Scholarships Program. Nearly two of three voters (63%) say they favor the program, versus 26% of respondents who say they oppose it. Almost one-fourth of voters (23%) say they are at least "somewhat familiar" with the voucher program; (11) More than 17% of respondents say they support the Student Scholarships Program because it offers a "better education," doubling the number of responses given for the second-most frequently cited reason. Almost 9% of voters said the program afforded "choice, freedom, or flexibility"; (12) By a two-to-one margin, Louisiana voters support expanding school voucher eligibility--statewide, low and middle income families, and low-rated C, D, and F schools (60% favor vs. 30% oppose); (13) A plurality of voters (47%) say they favor allowing tenure for public school teachers. There is about equal intensity, positive versus negative, on both sides of the issue (23% "strongly favor" vs. 24% "strongly oppose"); and (14) A solid majority of Louisianans (56%) support a new plan to overhaul the guidelines for tenure, seniority status, and teacher salaries. About one of three voters (33%) say they oppose the proposal. There is considerable positive intensity regarding the idea. Those who say they "strongly favor" outnumber those who "strongly oppose" by a two-to-one margin (36% vs. 18%, respectively). (Contains 1 footnote.)
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:; Web site:
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: Louisiana