California voters want safe K-12 school environments, less emphasis on tests, poll finds

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With regards to public K-12 schools, most California voters agree that they want more emphasis placed on creating safe and positive school environments, but they are divided on issues of immigration, according to the Berkeley IGS Poll.

The poll, which was conducted from Aug. 27 to Sept. 5 and released last Thursday, surveyed 1,200 registered California voters throughout the state on behalf of EdSource, a nonprofit publication that reports on California education and policy. The sample of voters included 200 parents of school-aged children, and the poll asked questions about K-12 education in relation to vulnerable students, immigration policies, special education students, bullying and income inequality, among other issues.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said creating a safe and positive school environment should be of high importance when evaluating California public schools’ performance. By comparison, only 33 percent said the same about standardized test scores.

Nearly seven out of 10 voters said that low-income parents have few options for their children’s schools, and 55 percent favored providing government subsidies so that low-income parents can send their children to a private or religious school if they don’t like their public-school choices.

“I thought it was interesting, the whole issue of low-income families and the support that voters have for offering them tax credits,said Mark DiCamillo, director of Berkeley IGS Poll. “I think that’s worthy of greater study.

Despite agreement among voters about school priorities, the poll saw a sharp partisan divide emerge in questions related to immigration. Among registered Democrats, 83 percent were very or somewhat concerned about how the federal government’s stricter immigration enforcement policies will impact public school students’ mental health, compared to 26 percent among registered Republicans. Overall, 60 percent of voters were very or somewhat concerned about the federal government’s stricter immigration enforcement policies.

The majority of those surveyed also consider it very important that schools provide more funding to address the needs of homeless and special education students. With regards to school funding, roughly half of the voters also expressed support for students in foster care and students learning English, while 35 percent voted to address the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

A large percentage of voters supported the idea that school evaluations should prioritize increasing graduation rates, preparing students for college or the workforce and increasing attendance rates.

According to Louis Freedberg, executive director of EdSource, these responses show, overall, that California schools are moving in the right direction.

“I think it sends a message that we expect schools to do more than just educate kids in the classroom,” Freedberg said. “There’s a growing move to look at the whole child. You have to look at the broader context.”

Contact Sam Levin at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SamJLevin.

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  • Mark Talmont

    EdSource has some useful information but is steeped in a highly politicized environment tailored to favor interests that are anything but objective. Take a look at their survey of the state’s “dashboard”

    https://edsource.org/20117/california-school-dashboard/57869

    riddled with “Not available” “Not applicable” and you get a higher number just for lowering the number of suspensions, you can’t find data for how many that was. Most alarming of all is the absence of any financial data, the stinkers at the state head shed have decided to play “keep away” with the spending data. Once there was an outstanding database with per pupil spending narrowed right down to individual school sites, broken down by category with comparisons to the state averages. But no more.

    Here’s the remnant of the “legacy” site, though apparently with the money numbers stripped out:

    http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/Pages/Home.aspx

    and here’s the ” new and improved” version

    http://www.ed-data.org/

    which I find to be much more difficult to use and visually fatiguing at that; check out the weakly-contrasted text, some of it gray-on-gray–think they really stayed up late to come up with that?

    Oh well. Here’s the latest good news-bad news on the latest math tests, still no grade level with half meeting the standards

    https://edsource.org/2017/signs-of-hope-amid-smarter-balanced-math-scores/588427

    also high school graduation rates are not going to be much of an issue now that the legislature has eliminated the “exit exam”‘; you can get a diploma if you show up and have a pulse. Always raising the bar here in the Golden State!

  • lspanker

    When reading an article about some poll, I prefer to read the actual poll questions myself before believing the interpretation of some so-called “student journalist”…

    • BerCaley

      Spanker, you sound like your boy Cheeto, “It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.”

      • California Defender

        The globalist corporate press is able to write whatever nonsense it wants, so long as it isn’t defamatory fake news, which is illegal. That is what the President is referring to.

      • Rollie

        Ispanker makes a valid point. It is irresponsible to write with significant reference to a poll and its results, without providing a link or other navigation to the poll itself. It is by now a conventional, journalistic standard—especially in electronic media–to steer readers toward primary information, if such information is available, rather than expecting the author’s reporting to serve as the last word. Other Daily Californian pieces are chock-full of helpful links, so I assume the editors already understand this standard.

      • lspanker

        As to be expected, you couldn’t address my point, BUT you had to say something…

        • BerCaley

          I actually couldn’t find an identifiable idea in your 25 words of typing worth addressing. But I did think it resembled your boy Cheeto’s facile disdain for the press.

          • lspanker

            I actually couldn’t find an identifiable idea in your 25 words of typing worth addressing.

            Then you’re clearly in the wrong place, given that others here got the point and expanded on it in a constructive manner. You’re turning into a silly troll, intent on responding to every one of my posts, regardless of whether you actually have anything to add to the discussion.

          • BerCaley

            Dude, you didn’t address the topic of the article. You just whined “When reading an article about some poll …” At best, meta. That poll could have been about your favorite Justin Bieber song and your words would have been the same. So in fact, you didn’t have an identifiable idea worth responding to.

            Again, you’re more like Cheeto and his tweets.