February 17, 2009
TSTA poll on public education

The Texas State Teachers Association released the results of its annual poll on attitudes towards public education in Texas last week. From the poll memo (PDF):

Despite a declining national and state economy, a majority of Texas voters still maintain
that too little is being spent on education.
A 60% majority of voters believe the state
government is spending too little on education versus 10% who say too much and 24%
who say the right amount. This perception of under-investment is held by majorities of
Republicans, Independents and Democrats, and it is essentially unchanged from the
view held throughout our polling from 2003 through 2007.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Texans think state funding for public schools should be
By contrast, just 6% believe state funding for schools should be decreased
and 27% say it should be kept at the same level. This majority support for increasing
state spending on schools is held by 54% of Republicans, 62% of Independents, and
76% of Democrats.

Despite the economic anxiety of voters, those who support increasing the funding of
schools remains over 60%.

Furthermore, 71% of voters - with no partisan bias (Republicans 69%, Independents
71% and Democrats 76%) - believe the state legislature has more work to do to properly
fund public schools
, versus 20% who say it has sufficiently addressed the issue.
Although those saying the Legislature must do more has declined from 81% two years
ago to 71% now, the current 7-to-2 sentiment remains overwhelmingly lopsided.

Emphasis in the original. Other subjects polled include standardized testing and teacher pay. You can see all the data, with graphs, in this large PDF file; there's also a video presentation. The remarkable thing is how stable the numbers have been since 2003, in all areas. Maybe this is how people have always felt, going back to the creation of the public school system, I don't know. The disconnect between what people say they want and what they've been getting is still pretty striking.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 17, 2009 to The great state of Texas

The consolidation of school districts would save a great amount of money that could be put immediately right back into the educational system. Those who were once administrators (and are no longer administrators due to consolidation) can earn their pay by going back to the classrooms and teach.

Posted by: cb on February 17, 2009 11:31 AM

Consolidating school districts is exactly the wrong move. In the rural areas it would cause extreme hardship. In urban areas quite a few school districts, such as HISD and Dallas ISD, are many times the optimal district size. Those should be split up, not consolidated. I expect no real improvement in urban education until they are.

Posted by: Dale on February 17, 2009 1:39 PM

The bigger issue is with the validity of the poll. TSTA is the antithesis of objectivity; the poll was intended to be self-serving, and it was. No surprise. I never give credence to such polls.

Posted by: Dale on February 18, 2009 5:28 PM
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