Survey: Michigan Voters Want Better Outcomes From Public Schools

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Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), the state’s business roundtable, has released findings from a recent survey on K-12 education, which shows strong voter interest for greater improvement in Michigan schools.

Conducted by the Glengariff Group in August, BLM’s survey of 600 people also demonstrated voters approve of the job Michigan schools are doing, as well as actions that would strengthen achievement and accountability.

“Nearly 65 percent (of respondents) approve of the job being done by their local schools, and a majority think Michigan schools perform at a level similar to schools in other states,” says Doug Rothwell, BLM president and CEO. “Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be widespread public awareness that Michigan student performance lags that of other states, resulting in three-fourths of our students graduating high school unprepared to enter the workforce or to continue their education.”

Rothwell points to fourth grade reading scores in Michigan that rank 46th nationwide, eighth grade math results ranked 37th, and 2016 ACT testing data, which shows that 23 percent of Michigan students demonstrated career and college readiness benchmarks in math, English, science, and reading.

“What’s alarming about these results is that they generally reflect downward trends —we’re falling behind other states,” he adds.

The findings come as BLM continues a major study exploring ways to improve K-12 education.  The BLM survey findings also indicate:

    • By a margin of 47 to 43.1 percent, Michigan voters are split on whether they approve or disapprove of the job Michigan’s public schools as a whole are doing. This split is reflective across nearly all demographic groups.
    • 65.1 percent of African American voters disapprove of the job Michigan public schools are doing, with 40.9 percent strongly disapproving.
    • By a margin of 64.5­ percent to 29.4 percent, Michigan voters strongly approve of the job their local public school is doing.
    • Voters are split on whether they believe Michigan public and charter schools are held accountable for producing proficient students. More than 40 percent of voters believe schools are held accountable, while 42.5 percent of voters believe they are not.
    • By a margin of 63.5 percent to 27.5 percent, Michigan voters would support giving the state more authority to take over failing schools.
    • By a margin of 74 percent to 17.2 percent, Michigan voters would support Michigan implementing an education accountability plan like Massachusetts.
    • Michigan voters support giving the state more authority to take over poorly performing schools (63.5 percent), and providing every Michigan public school with an A–F grade on their ability to educate their students based on student test scores aligned with strong proficiency standards (77.5 percent).

The survey was conducted from Aug. 28-31 and has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. The full results can be found here.

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