Nikki Kelly has an article in the Journal Gazette contrasting some of Gov. Daniels education priorities with a recent poll on the public’s preferences for education.
Much as I like needling Gov. Daniels, I’m also skeptical of the value of polls on people’s policy preferences. People who are smart enough in their own areas of expertise don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to be informed on details of government policy.
But, for whatever it’s worth, people favor financing struggling schools more generously than those with rapid population growth. Gov. Daniels goes the opposite direction. Coincidentally, I’m sure, older schools with more challenging student populations tend to be in areas that are more likely to vote for the Democrats. Schools in high growth areas tend to have more children of affluent people who are more likely to vote for Gov. Daniels.
People think parental involvement is more important than changes like paying teachers more. Gov. Daniels says you can’t mandate parental involvement. He’s mostly right with that, but I’d say policies he favors that put downward pressure on wages contribute to the lack of parental involvement. It’s simply tougher for parents to be involved where you need two incomes to support the family instead of being able to have one parent at home.
The last item said that the public favors, by a 2-to-1 margin, supporting current schools rather than creating more charter schools. I tend to chalk up continued support for charter schools – in the face of evidence that, on the whole, they don’t perform notably better than traditional schools – to a love of union busting.