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2008 Public Opinion Survey on K-12 Education in Indiana. Indiana State Board of Education January 7,2009 Jonathan A. Plucker Terry E. Spradlin Nathan A. Burroughs Stephen C. Hiller. Center for Evaluation and Education Policy (CEEP).

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2008 Public Opinion Survey on K-12 Education in Indiana

Indiana State Board of Education

January 7,2009

Jonathan A. Plucker

Terry E. Spradlin

Nathan A. Burroughs

Stephen C. Hiller


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Center for Evaluation andEducation Policy (CEEP)

  • CEEP promotes and supports rigorous program evaluation and nonpartisan policy research primarily, but not exclusively, for education, human service and non-profit organizations.

  • In the area of K-12 education policy, CEEP’s mission is to help inform, influence and shape sound policy through effective, nonpartisan research and analysis.

  • For more information about CEEP, go to: http://ceep.indiana.edu


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Need for a Survey

  • In 2003, when the Benchmark Survey was completed, no other comprehensive, nonpartisan survey of public opinion on Indiana education issues had been conducted in recent memory

  • CEEP has conducted the survey in each of the last six years (2003-2008), with no external funding, to provide a standardized, empirical approach to gauge and measure the public perception of Indiana schools and related issues

  • Policymakers and education leaders in Indiana have expressed support for the continuation of this survey

  • Year 6 survey was conducted to identify changes in the attitudes and perceptions of Hoosiers since 2003 and gauge opinions on K-12 education policy issues likely to be addressed during the 2009 session of the Indiana General Assembly


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Telephone Survey

  • 612 residents of Indiana, all 18+ years old

  • Conducted in November 2008

  • Random Digit Dialing (RDD)

    • Includes both listed and unlisted numbers

  • Minimum and maximum quotas for county, age, gender, and race/ethnicity to ensure a representative sample of these variables

    • Gender balance reflected 48% male, 52% female

    • Race/ethnicity balance reflected: 79.7% white, 9.6% African American, and 4.7% Hispanic

  • State and regional results are weighted proportionately to the Indiana population for race/ethnicity

  • Phone surveys conducted by professional market research interviewers employed and managed by Stone Research Services


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Survey Statistics

  • Ratio of initial refusals to households successfully screened (1731/889) was 1.9:1, which is lower than average for RDD samples and down from a 2.3:1 ratio last year.

  • Overall sampling error of +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level. In addition, the sampling error declines when responses are heavily one sided.


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Survey Development

  • Questions developed from a review of:

    • Surveys in other states

    • The 40th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools and the 2008 Education Next/Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) Survey of Public Opinion

    • Issues being discussed by Indiana policymakers

    • Anticipated “hot topics” in Indiana (e.g., virtual schooling and school consolidation)


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Item Revision

  • 2003-2008 Survey questions have been reviewed by:

    • Project staff

    • Indiana policymakers and educational leaders representing a breadth of perspectives and ideologies

    • Stone Research Services


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Summary of Year 6 ResuIts

26-question survey examining:

  • Overall Evaluation of Schools (Q.1-Q.7B)

  • School Funding (Q.8A-Q.9)

  • School District Consolidation and Governance (Q.10-Q.14)

  • Charter Schools, School Choice, Home Schooling (Q.15A.-Q18)

  • Virtual Education (Q.19A-Q.20)

  • High-Quality Teachers (Q.21-Q23)

  • No Child Left Behind (Q.24-Q.26)


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(Q1) How important are each of the following issues to you? Please rate the importance on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 signifying not at all important and 10 signifying very important.

New Question in 2008

  • Respondents rating K-12 education as a 10:

  • All 66%

  • Females 74% Males 58%

  • Whites 65% Non-whites 73%

  • By Income:

    <35K 76% 35K-50K 69%

    50K-75K 64% 75K+ 56%

  • By Education:

    HS or less 72% Some college 73%

    College grad or more 57%


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(Q2) On the whole, would you say that public schools in Indiana provide an excellent, good, fair, or poor education?

  • Answered Excellent or Good:

  • All Respondents 2008 - 54%

  • All Respondents 2007 - 50%

  • With School-Aged Children 60%

  • Without School-Aged Children 51%

  • White Residents 60%

  • Non-White Residents 30%

    Fair or Poor 65%

  • Northern IN 52%

  • Central IN 51%

  • Southern IN 70%


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(Q3) Over the past five years, have the public schools in Indiana gotten better, worse, or stayed the same?

  • All Respondents:

    Better 28% Worse 21% Same 42%

  • With School-Aged Children:

    Better 31% Worse 18% Same 42%

  • Without School-Aged Children:

    Better 26% Worse 23% Same 42%

  • Whites:

    Better 29% Worse 19% Same 42%

  • Non-whites:

    Better 24% Worse 27% Same 41%


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(Q4) What about the public schools in your community? Would you say that they provide an excellent, good, fair, or poor education?

  • Answering Excellent or Good:

  • All Respondents 2008 - 63%

  • All Respondents 2007 - 61%

  • White Residents 68%

  • Non-White Residents 40%

  • Northern IN 58%

  • Central IN 64%

  • Southern IN 73%


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(Q5A) Over the past five years, have the public schools in your community gotten better, worse, or stayed the same?

  • All Respondents:

    Better 29%

    Worse 16%

    Same 43%

  • Answered Gotten Better:

  • Whites 31%

    Non-whites 23%

  • Northern IN 31%

    Central IN 27%

    Southern IN 35%


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(Q5B) Why do you say that? your community gotten better, worse, or stayed the same?

  • Views on why schools have gotten better:

  • Enhanced curriculum

  • More programs and general efforts to improve schools

  • Increased level of academic achievement as a result of ISTEP+

  • Heard or read about more positive results

  • Teachers doing a better job in the classroom

  • New or improved school facilities and equipment

  • Improvement in the graduate rate and more students getting into college

  • View on why schools have gotten worse:

  • Fewer number of teachers and larger class sizes

  • Declines in standardized test scores such as ISTEP+ and the SAT

  • Poor student behavior and discipline

  • Insufficient emphasis on the value of education

  • The education system is broken

  • High school dropout rates and truancy

  • Lack of parental involvement

  • Decline in teacher commitment


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(Q6A) Based on your impression, or what you might have heard or read, where do you think the academic performance of Indiana high school students ranks compared with students in other states – near the top, in the middle, or near the bottom?

New Question in 2008

  • Ranking Indiana students near the top/bottom: 12%/20% (62% in the middle)

  • White 12%/17%

  • Non-white 8%/31%

  • Northern IN 11%/21%

  • Central IN 8%/23%

  • Southern IN 24%/8%

  • HS or less 14%/17%

  • Some college 10%/19%

  • College grad or more 11%/23%


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(Q6B) Thinking about our own school district, where do you think the academic performance of high school students in your local district ranks compared with students in other states – near the top, in the middle, or near the bottom?

New Question in 2008

  • Ranking local students near the top/bottom: 23%/17% (53% in the middle)

  • White 25%/15%

  • Non-white 14%/30%

  • Northern IN 24%/19%

  • Central IN 22%/18%

  • Southern IN 26%/13%

  • HS or less 16%/19%

  • Some college 23%/15%

  • College grad or more 30%/18%


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(Q7A) Based on your impression, or what you might have heard or read, where do you think the academic performance of Indiana high school students ranks compared with students in other countries – near the top, in the middle, or near the bottom?

New Question in 2008

  • Ranking Indiana students near the top/bottom: 14%/37% (43% in the middle)

  • White 14%/37%

  • Non-white 14%/38%

  • Northern IN 12%/37%

  • Central IN 14%/39%

  • Southern IN 17%31%

  • HS or less 18%/29%

  • Some college 18%/41%

  • College grad or more 7%/43%


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(Q7B) Thinking about your own school district, where do you think the academic performance of high school students in our local district ranks compared with students in other countries – near the top, in the middle, or near the bottom?

New Question in 2008

  • Ranking local students near the top/bottom: 15%/33% (46% in the middle)

  • White 15%/32%

  • Non-white 14%/38%

  • Northern IN 12%/36%

  • Central IN 16%/32%

  • Southern IN 20%/29%

  • HS or less 17%/25%

  • Some college 14%/34%

  • College grad or more 13%/39%


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(Q8A) Overall, do you think the level of funding for public education in Indiana is more than enough, enough, or not enough to meet the learning needs of students?

  • Answering Not Enough:

  • All Respondents 64%

  • White Residents 61%

  • Non-White Residents 75%

  • HS or less 69%

  • Some college 63%

  • College grad or more 59%

  • Men 57%

  • Women 70%


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(Q8B) When including the expenses incurred for such things as teachers, buildings and bus transportation, school districts spend about $10,000 per year per student. Do you think this level of funding for public education in Indiana is more than enough, enough, or not enough to meet the learning needs of students?

  • When told per pupil spending is $10,000

  • All Respondents:

    Enough/More than Enough 49%

    Not enough 46%

  • White Residents:

    Enough/More than Enough 51%

    Not enough 44%

  • Minority Residents:

    Enough/More than Enough 41%

    Not Enough 53%


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All Respondents as teachers, buildings and bus transportation, school districts spend about $10,000 per year per student. Do you think this level of funding for public education in Indiana is more than enough, enough, or not enough to meet the learning needs of students?

Facilities and equipment spending is sufficient:

2008 - 41%

2004 - 51%

Expenditures are far too much or more than sufficient:

2008 - 23%

2004 - 18%

Expenditures are less than sufficient or far too little:

2008 – 25%

2004 - 15%

(Q9) Local school boards have the responsibility of determining how property tax funds are spent for school facilities and equipment in their districts. How do you view the expenditures of funds on facilities and equipment in your community? Does your school board spend far too much, a bit too much, just about right, a bit too little, or far too little?


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Respondents who believe to some extent that consolidation of school districts in Indiana will save tax dollars:

All Respondents 49%

Males 56%

Females 43%

High School or Less 44%

Some College 51%

College Grad or More 52%

(Q10) To what extent do you agree or disagree with the perspective that the consolidation of smaller school districts in Indiana will save tax dollars? Do you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree?


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(Q11) To what extent do you agree or disagree that school district consolidation will provide more learning opportunities for students?

  • Respondents who Agree or Strongly Agree: All 50%

  • By Age:

    18-34 49%

    35-44 43%

    45-54 51%

    55-64 50%

    65+ 59%

  • Male 53%

  • Female 47%


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(Q12) To what extent do you agree or disagree that school district consolidation will enhance student achievement?

  • Respondents who Agree or Strongly Agree:

  • All 45% (vs. 51% disagree or strongly disagree)

  • Northern IN 44%

  • Central IN 44%

  • Southern IN 52%

  • HS or less 50% • Some college 42%

  • College grad or more 40%

  • By Income:

    <35K 57% 35K-50K 44%

    50K-75K 40% 75K+ 39%


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(Q13) Would you support or oppose the school district in your community being consolidated with another district?

  • Only 27% of respondents support school consolidation v. 66% oppose:

  • Male 32%/62%

  • Female 22%/70%

  • White 24%/70%

  • Non-white 42%/50%

  • HS or less 30%/64%

  • Some college 27%/68%

  • College grad or more 24%/68%


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(Q14) Some school board elections are presently held in May during the primary elections. To what extent do you support or oppose moving all school board elections to the general election in November?

  • All Respondents:

  • 65% support to some extent

  • 27% oppose to some extent


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(Q15A) Indiana law states that a purpose of charter schools is to allow these public schools freedom and flexibility in exchange for exceptional levels of accountability. How would you rate your familiarity with charter schools? Would you say you are very familiar, somewhat familiar, not very familiar, or not at all familiar with charter schools? (N=305)

  • Somewhat or Very Familiar with Charter Schools:

  • All Respondents 2008 38%

  • All Respondents 2007 36%

  • Male 45%

  • Female 32%

  • White 33%

  • Non-white 57%

  • Northern IN 40%

  • Central IN 42%

  • Southern IN 23%


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(Q15B) How would you rate your familiarity with charter schools? Would you say you are very familiar, somewhat familiar, not very familiar, or not at all familiar with charter schools? (N=307)

  • Somewhat or Very Familiar with Charter Schools:

  • All Respondents 34%

  • Male 39%

  • Female 29%

  • White 33%

  • Non-white 37%

  • Northern IN 37%

  • Central IN 34%

  • Southern IN 27%


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(Q16) Approximately 3% of all public schools operating in Indiana this school year are charter schools. Do you support or oppose the creation of more charter schools? (N=421)

  • Support more charter schools:

  • All Respondents 54%

    (vs. 26% oppose)

  • HS or less 50%

  • Some college 53%

  • College grad or more 57%

  • Northern IN 56%

  • Central IN 53%

  • Southern IN 49%

  • White 52%

  • Non-white 60%


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(Q17) Assume you had a child attending a public school that has been placed on academic probation by either the state or federal government. Which would you prefer:

  • All Respondents:

  • Additional assistance to help student achievement:

    2008 - 53% 2006 – 61%

  • Transfer their child to another public school:

    2008 - 18% 2006 – 15%

  • Receive state financial support to offset part or all of the tuition for a private school:

    2008 - 23% 2006 – 18%


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(Q18) Would you support or oppose the Indiana Department of Education monitoring the academic performance of students educated by their parents at home by requiring student participation in the state testing program, ISTEP+?

  • 80% support v. 18% oppose


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(Q19A) To what extent do you support or oppose the use of online courses provided over the Internet to supplement a student’s high school curriculum?

  • Supporting or Strongly Supporting:

  • All 66%

  • HS or less 61% • Some college 64%

  • College grad or more 74%

  • With School-Aged Children 74%

  • Without School-Aged Children 62%

  • White 70% Non-white 55%

  • By Income:

    <35K 59% 35K-50K 66%

    50K-75K 71% 75K+ 72%

  • PEPG 2008: 69% (willing)


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(Q19B) To what extent do you support or oppose the use of online courses for gifted and talented students to expand the availability of course offering?

  • Supporting or Strongly Supporting: All 84%

  • HS or less 75%

  • Some college 87%

  • College grad or more 89%

  • By Income:

    <35K 79% 35K-50K 79%

    50K-75K 87% 75K+ 89%

  • White 87%

  • Non-white 71%


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(Q19C) To what extent do you support or oppose the use of online course for at-risk students to provide opportunities for remediation and credit completion?

  • Support or Strongly Support: All 72%

  • With School-Aged Children 77%

  • Without School-Aged Children 68%

  • Northern IN 66%

  • Central IN 76%

  • Southern IN 74%

  • White 75%

  • Non-white 59%

  • Male 68%

  • Female 75%


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(Q19D) To what extent do you support or oppose a requirement that all high-school students complete at least one course online?

  • Support or Strongly Support: All 38%

  • Northern IN 34%

  • Central IN 40%

  • Southern IN 43%

  • White 37%

  • Non-white 47%


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(Q20) Would you support or oppose the establishment of a public school where a majority of the instruction is provided over the Internet by a licensed teacher?

  • Respondents opposed to virtual school:

  • Northern IN 72%

  • Central IN 72%

  • Southern IN 79%

  • White 74%

  • Non-white 69%

  • All Respondents 2008 74% (vs. 24% support)

  • All Respondents 2007 75%


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(Q21) How would you rate the quality of Indiana public school teachers? Overall, would you say they are excellent, good, fair, or poor?

  • Respondents Answering Excellent or Good:

  • All Respondents 2008 70%

  • All Respondents 2007 62%

  • Northern IN 70%

  • Central IN 68%

  • Southern IN 76%

  • White 74% Non-white 53%

  • Male 66% Female 73%


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(Q22) In your opinion, should highly qualified teachers be paid higher salaries as an incentive to teach in public schools that have been identified as needing improvement or that have a high number of students living in poverty?

  • Favor paying highly qualified teachers higher salaries to teach in schools identified as needing improvement:

  • All Respondents 2008 75%

  • All Respondents 2003 69%

  • By Income:

    <35K 64% 35K-50K 82%

    50K-75K 81% 75K+ 78%

  • PDK 2008 70%


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(Q23) Should increases to teachers’ pay be based on the level of improvement of student achievement in the classroom and on state standardized tests or should teachers’ pay increases be based solely on years of service or level of training, or a combination of all of these factors?

  • Favor basing increases in teacher salaries on a combination of student performance, years of service, or training:

  • All Respondents 2008 71%

  • All Respondents 2005 65%

  • Northern IN 68%

  • Central IN 72%

  • Southern IN 80%


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(Q24) How much, if anything, do you feel you know about the federal K-12 school accountability law, referred to as No Child Left Behind Act … a great deal, some, a little, or nothing at all?

  • Respondents knowing a great deal or some about NCLB:

  • With school-aged children 60%

  • Without school-aged children 47%

  • HS or less 41%

  • Some college 50%

  • College grad or more 63%


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(Q25) Do you think the No Child Left Behind law is helping, hurting, or making no difference in the performance of schools in Indiana? (N=317)

  • All Respondents:

  • NCLB is Helping:

    2008 31% 2007 32%

  • NCLB is Hurting

    2008 31% 2007 34%

  • NCLB is Making No Difference

    2008 33% 2007 27%


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(Q26) Do you believe that state should take over and manage persistently failing schools in your local community?

  • Respondents who believe the state should take over failing schools:

  • All Respondents Yes 58%/No 37%

  • Male 61% • Female 54%

  • With School-Aged Children 65%

  • Without School-Aged Children 53%

  • Northern IN 54%

  • Central IN 60%

  • Southern IN 61%

  • White 56%

  • Non-white 71%


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Information and Attitudes about K-12 Education in Indiana persistently failing schools in your local community?

  • Respondents paying closer attention to the news were:

  • Less likely to believe school consolidation will improve student achievement

  • More in favor of online courses as supplements or for gifted and at-risk students

  • More familiar with NCLB and charter schools

  • More likely to believe NCLB is having a positive effect


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Conclusions persistently failing schools in your local community?


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Conclusions persistently failing schools in your local community?

A. Overall Evaluation of Schools

  • After a decline in 2007, the 2008 Survey saw more positive attitudes both about community schools and all Indiana schools. However, minorities continue to express much more negative attitudes about the quality of education.

  • K-12 education ranks with the economy and health care as the most important issues to Indiana residents.

  • A plurality of respondents believe that high school students locally and across Indiana rank near the middle nationally and internationally.


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Conclusions persistently failing schools in your local community?(cont.)

B. School Funding

  • The share of respondents believing that schools are insufficiently funded rose from 59% to 64% since 2007. Although this number declines to 46% when information on how much is spent is provided, this is an increase from the previous year.

  • A plurality of residents think that roughly the right amount is spent on school facilities.


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Conclusions persistently failing schools in your local community?(cont.)

C. School District Consolidation

  • Public opinion in Indiana is closely divided on the effects of school consolidation. A slightly greater share of residents thinks that consolidation will save money and increase learning opportunities, while a small majority does not believe it will increase student achievement.

  • A strong majority of Hoosiers opposes school consolidation in their community.


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Conclusions persistently failing schools in your local community?(cont.)

D. Charter Schools and School Choice

  • While respondents continue to support a focus on school improvement over school choice or tuition vouchers, the proportion has declined steadily over the last three years.

  • A majority of Indiana residents remain uninformed about charter schools. Of those that have some level of awareness (n=421) of charter schools, a majority support the creation of additional charters.


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Conclusions persistently failing schools in your local community?(cont.)

E. Virtual Education

  • A large percentage of those questioned support the use of online courses to supplement high school education, especially for gifted and talented students. However, a majority of citizens oppose requirement for online education course completion in high school. Even more oppose the creation of virtual public schools where a majority of instruction is provided online by a licensed teacher.


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Conclusions persistently failing schools in your local community?(cont.)

E. High Quality Teachers and Compensation

  • Residents also continue to support higher salaries for highly qualified teachers who choose to work in public schools identified as needing improvement or that have a high number of students living in poverty.

  • A high number of respondents view teachers as excellent or good, with an increase in 2008 after a decline in the previous year.

  • There is strong and stable public support for teacher compensation based on a mix of criteria.


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Conclusions persistently failing schools in your local community?(cont.)

F. No Child Left Behind

  • Familiarity with NCLB was relatively stable in 2008, with 52% knowing a great deal or some about the program.

  • A third of Indiana residents believe that NCLB is making no difference in the quality of education, an increase from the previous two years, with equal proportions thinking NCLB is helping and hurting.

  • A majority of respondents would support the takeover of failing community schools by the state.


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2009 Survey? persistently failing schools in your local community?

  • CEEP will explore continuation of the Public Opinion Survey on Education in Indiana.

  • If continued, questions will continue to be reviewed and refined.


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CEEP Contact Information: persistently failing schools in your local community?

Jonathan A. Plucker, Ph.D.

Director

Terry E. Spradlin, MPA

Associate Director

Nathan Burroughs, Ph.D.

Research Associate

1900 East Tenth Street

Bloomington, Indiana 47406-7512

812-855-4438

Fax: 812-856-5890

http://ceep.indiana.edu


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