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California Voters Support Spending More Money on Schools, But Only with More Accountability, According to New Poll

Nov 30, 2006

SACRAMENTO, CA—As the state legislature gets set to reconvene next Monday and Governor Schwarzenegger launches a new term, voters are looking for comprehensive changes to the public education system and they support a reform approach combining more funding with tighter financial accountability, including more accessible information. This is according to a new, bipartisan, statewide survey of voters completed on November 8-9 by leading Republican and Democratic polling agencies, Public Opinion Strategies and Evans/McDonough, respectively. The poll was sponsored by Children Now, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to assuring all children thrive.

“This poll shows public consensus that major changes to California’s school system are needed now and it’s driven by the recognition that children aren’t being educated well enough to make it today,” said Gene Ulm, a Public Opinion Strategies partner. “It also shows broad-based voter support of more funding for schools, but only if there’s much greater accountability attached to it.”

Key findings of the poll include:

  • 84% believe “every public school should have the materials and teachers needed to implement standards-based education even if it means increasing education funding”
  • 77% favor “paying higher salaries to teachers that have students that need extra educational help or teach subjects that require additional training”
  • 88% favor “requiring more ongoing training for teachers to make sure they stay qualified to teach”
  • 92% favor “requiring better and more accessible information so that we can understand where our education tax dollars are being spent”
  • 85% favor “requiring better and more accessible information so that we can understand how well specific classrooms are performing”
  • Nearly eight-in-ten voters want either a “complete dismantling and redesign of our public education system” (27%) or “comprehensive reforms that make significant changes to the system” (52%)
  • 85% believe there are too many students in California leaving school without enough education to make it in today’s economy

“We’re confident the state’s leadership and major interest groups, including education and business, can work together on an effective, balanced solution that will return our education system to excellence,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, which is involved in a major effort to reform K-12. “Following the election, voters are demanding a course of action that better educates our kids for success in life.”

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