2011 State-wide Survey
Statewide Public Education Survey of Registered Voters in Kansas
Survey created and results analyzed by: Patron Insight, Inc., Stilwell, Kansas.
Co-funded by: Kansas Association of School Boards, Kansas School Superintendents’ Association, United School Administrators of Kansas
Download a pdf copy of the complete report.
In February 2011, 500 head-of-household, registered voters from across the state of Kansas participated in a 10-minute telephone study seeking their thoughts on the performance of their school district, the performance of school districts across Kansas in general, and key issues related to the ongoing funding and support of public education in the state. The full report details an extensive analysis of the findings for the entire survey group, and for key groups of participants divided by where they live, whether or not they have current public school students in the household, age, and racial/ethnic group.
This Executive Summary touches on the key findings:
1. Kansans give public schools across the state positive grades for their performance, and they are even more enthusiastic with their support for their own local school districts.
2. A total of 82% of research participants gave their local school district a “grade” of either “A” or “B,” and 70% did the same thing for the state’s public schools in general.
3. More than nine out of 10 Kansans agree that up-to-date school buildings and student technology are important, and that students should have access to equal educational opportunities – no matter where they live in the state.
4. When asked for their level of agreement or disagreement with a series of statements about the educational system and its funding, 95% said they would either “strongly agree” or “agree” with the statement, “Keeping school buildings and classroom technology up-to-date is important,” while 94% said the same thing about the statement “Generally speaking, all students should have access to equal educational opportunities, no matter where they live in Kansas.”
5. More than eight out of 10 Kansans agree with the importance of adequately funding public education, with the view that all students have the capability to learn, and with the statement that decisions for local school districts are best left to local school boards, among other topics.
The next tier of responses featured seven statements that generated “strongly agree” or “agree” responses from more than eight out of 10 participants. Specifically:
6. Decisions about what’s best for local school districts should be made by local school boards, rather than at the state level. (89%)
7. Public education is worth the investment of tax dollars. (89%)
8. All students have the ability to learn, and it’s up to school districts to determine how to help each one learn and be successful in school. (88%)
9. Generally speaking, all students should have access to equal educational opportunities, no matter what their strengths and weaknesses in the classroom may be. (88%)
10. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, band and debate, are an important part of an overall education. (85%)
11. Protecting funding for public education should be one of the highest priorities when decisions are made by the state government. (83%)
12. Teaching students technical and vocational skills in the upper grades should be as much of a priority as other subjects. (81%)
Opinions on the remaining statements ranged from a high of 79% (on each of three statements) down to a low of 26% (on a statement suggesting the possibility of a longer school year). These results continue the theme of high expectations, and showcase some clear areas where patrons would like to see changes at the local level. The final nine statements fell quite clearly into two groups. Among those in the first group:
13. Students who graduate from Kansas public schools are prepared to be good citizens. (79%)
14. Students who graduate from Kansas public schools are ready for the next phase in their lives – whether that’s college, vocational training or getting a job. (76%
15. There seems to be too much time spent on standardized testing of students. (63%)
The lower rated areas were primarily related to curriculum adjustments – along with the lack of interest in a longer school year.
16. Students who graduate from Kansas public schools are prepared for basic life skills, such as managing their own money. (48%)
17. Enough time is spent in school these days on developing skills, such as working in teams, problem-solving and communications. (41%)
18. Enough time is spent in school these days on the basics, like English, science, social studies and math. (37%)
19. The length of the school year in Kansas should be longer, to give students more time in the classroom. (26%)
The full report provides more extensive commentary on each finding, along with all the questions, answers and pertinent cross-tabulations. A brief Summary closes the report.