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ERIC Number: EJ910574
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Meeting of the Minds
Howell, William; West, Martin; Peterson, Paul E.
Education Next, v11 n1 p20-31 Win 2011
Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C., are more polarized today than they have been in nearly a century. Among the general public, party identification remains the single most powerful predictor of people's opinions about a wide range of policy issues. Given this environment, reaching consensus on almost any issue of consequence would appear difficult. And when it comes to education policy, which does a particularly good job of stirring people's passions, opportunities for advancing meaningful policy reform would appear entirely fleeting. This article discusses the results of the 2010 Education Next-Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) Survey which are encouraging. Nearly 2,800 respondents participated in the survey, which was administered in May and June of 2010. In addition to a nationally representative sample of American adults, the survey included representative samples of two populations of special interest: (1) public school teachers; and (2) adults living in neighborhoods in which one or more charter schools are located. With a large number of respondents, the authors were able, in many cases, to pose differently worded questions to two or more randomly chosen groups. In so doing, they were able to evaluate the extent to which expressed opinions change when a person is informed of certain facts, told about the president's position on an issue, or simply asked about a topic in a different way. The results of the 2010 Education Next-PEPG Survey suggest that the public does not necessarily subscribe to all the positions taken by the most vocal elements in society. Indeed, the results suggest the possibility of advancing meaningful policy reform. The American public shows growing support for online learning and merit pay for teachers and continued support for accountability, standards, testing, and charter schools--education innovations that have been endorsed by leaders in both major parties. No less important is the fact that opinion on many key education issues does not polarize the public along partisan lines. Moreover, the authors find suggestive evidence that while the current president's persuasive powers may have waned, they appear to have had an impact. (Contains 9 figures.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States