A poll released today finds voters split on whether Washington state should raise taxes to fully fund schools.
The poll was done by a Portland firm, DHM Research, and commissioned by advocates of school funding and accountability in the Excellent Schools Now coalition. Pollsters talked to 500 voters in January and found 45 percent of voters backing higher funding for K-12 schools even if it requires a tax increase.
The poll also surveyed 500 teachers in December and found 70 percent of them agreed with the same question.
It has been more than a year since the state Supreme Court said the Legislature isn’t meeting its constitutional duty to amply fund education, and advocates are pushing lawmakers to make a big down payment in the next two-year budget: as much as $2 billion, depending on who’s doing the asking.
Among several ideas suggested to voters about what is important to fund, the most popular were nationwide English and math standards and all-day kindergarten for the state’s most at-risk children. Teachers particularly supported preschool and, again, all-day kindergarten.
The poll sees both teachers and the broader public supporting the nationwide standards, and both groups also supporting end-of-course exams in math, English, science and history.
But there were some differences between the two groups, including:
- 44 percent of voters and 63 percent of teachers viewing the K-12 education system heading in the right direction.
- 64 percent of voters and just 14 percent of teachers supporting assigning schools letter grades of A through F for their performance.
- 82 percent of voters and 47 percent of teachers supporting the collection of school data to figure out which schools aren’t serving students well and use it to decide support and consequences.
Here’s a summary of the poll, with fuller results below: