The Commonwealth Education Policy Institute in the Wilder School at VCU has just released its 12th annual statewide education poll. As the Executive Director, I continue to be amazed at the consistent responses of Virginians related to funding for K-12.
When 70% of the homes do not have school-age young people, six out of ten say that K-12 does not have adequate funding and are willing to pay higher taxes. When asked what tax they would pay, a plurality said sales. A majority of those polled also oppose tenure and do not believe that test results should be used solely to compensate teachers.
As for colleges and universities, nearly seven out of ten say that they are doing well in preparing for future workforce needs and in providing skills that are useful in getting a job. Even though the poll was being conducted during the recent tragic shooting at Tech, Virginians say that campuses are safe.
When looking at political affiliation, Independents tended to be aligned with Democrats in their responses regarding K-12 funding with Republicans in spending for higher education. When asked about priorities, a majority of Virginians support more funding for K-12, mental health and aid to dependent families while they are evenly divided on transportation and higher education.
While I have never been a tax and spend guy, the voices of Virginians have been perennially consistent throughout Republican and Democratic administrations, they value education and expect it to be funded.
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