by Andrew Crisp
The Indianapolis, Ind.-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice today released a new survey of Idahoans' opinions on K-12 education. The study was partly supported by a financial contribution from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.
At a mid-afternoon Statehouse press conference, Dale Buwalda with the Friedman Foundation talked about the sometimes surprising results, indicating 57 percent of sampled Idahoans believed that the public school system is "going down the wrong track."
"Idahoans are actually paying a lot of attention to K-12 education," said Buwalda, gesturing to the survey results. "78 percent are paying very close attention."
Statewide, only 38 percent of Idahoans said that they would choose public education as the best choice for their child, were they given the option of sending them anywhere. The options included public schools, charter schools, virtual schools, private and home schooling.
"That would be a very surprising result," said Julie Fanselow, communications director at the Idaho Education Association. "I would like to see the wording of the question that procured that result."
A number of the questions are carefully crafted. For example, question 10:
"Charter schools are public schools that have more control over their own budget, staff, and curriculum, and are exempt from many existing public school regulations. In general, do you favor or oppose charter schools?"
Sixty-nine percent of Idahoans said they favored charter schools in response to this question.
Conducted by Princteon, N.J., Braun Research, Inc., the results were compiled from telephone surveys of 2,097 registered voters, including 501 in the Boise-Nampa area, 504 in Coeur d'Alene and 501 in Idaho Falls. Braun Research used both cellphone and landline polling centers in various parts of the country, conducting 12-minute interviews.
The full study contains a lot more information, about Idahoans' knowledge of public school funding, their education options and a question about tax credit scholarships. Read the whole thing here.