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ERIC Number: ED533435
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jun-5
Pages: 76
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Tennessee K-12 & School Choice Survey: What Do Voters Say about K-12 Education? Polling Paper Number 9
DiPerna, Paul
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The "Tennessee K-12 & School Choice Survey" project, commissioned by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research Inc. (BRI), measures Tennessee registered voters' familiarity and views on a range of K-12 education topics and school choice reforms. The author and his colleagues report response levels and differences (using the term "net score" or "net") of voter opinion, and the intensity of responses. Where do Tennesseans stand on important issues and policy proposals in K-12 education? They try to provide some observations and insights in this paper. A randomly selected and statistically representative sample of Tennessee voters recently responded to 17 substantive questions and 11 demographic questions. A total of 606 telephone interviews were conducted in English from February 11 to 21, 2012, by means of both landline and cell phone. Statistical results were weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the statewide sample is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points. In this project the author and his colleagues included five 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. For this survey, they were particularly interested in how wording can affect responses to questions on taxes, education spending, and digital learning--all salient issues in Tennessee state politics and policy discussions. Their polling paper has four sections. The first section summarizes key findings. They call the second section "Survey Snapshots," which offers charts highlighting the core findings of the project. The third section describes the survey's methodology, summarizes response statistics, and presents additional technical information on call dispositions for landline and cell phone interviews. The fourth section presents their questionnaire and results ("topline numbers"), essentially allowing the reader to follow the actual interview as it was conducted, with respect to question wording and ordering. They set out to give a straight-forward analysis, going easy on editorial commentary, and letting the numbers and charts communicate the major findings. Key findings include: (1) Nearly three of four registered voters in Tennessee (74%) are paying attention to issues in K-12 education. About one of four voter (25%) say they pay "very little" or no attention; (2) Tennesseans are less likely to think that K-12 education is heading in the "right direction" (36%) compared to being on the "wrong track" (50%); (3) Tennessee voters are essentially split when assessing the state's public school system (47% say "good" or "excellent"; 49% say "fair" or "poor"); (4) Based on survey responses, Tennessee voters do not know how much is spent per student in public schools. There is an awareness gap; and (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. (Contains 8 notes and 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
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee