Colorado poll finds strong support for occupation education, concern about teacher pay

If you wanted to craft a winning educational platform in Colorado, you could do worse than pushing for more occupation training and higher teacher pay.

A new poll by Magellan Strategies found 83 percentage of a sample of Colorado registered electors surveyed favored increasing opportunities for occupation education in high school. The idea was popular crosswise subgroups, with at least 80 percentage support from men, women, Democrats, Republicans, independent electors and people in a range of geographic areas and fiscal gain groups.

There besides appeared to be a broad agreement that teachers were underpaid, with nearly three-quarters of those surveyed agreeing with that statement. At least half of every subgroup thought teachers should be paid more, though Republicans were less likely than Democrats or independent electors to think they were underpaid.

Two-thirds of electors polled aforementioned they thought schools were underfunded, but more than half thought they besides weren’t managing their money well. Those two ideas aren’t necessarily contradictory, aforementioned Ryan jock, director of information analysis and campaign strategy at Magellan.

“There’s a general perception that school districts aren’t managing their money well because not enough money is getting directly into the classroom — the implication being that too much goes to administration or other costs,” he aforementioned in a written response. “So I think a elector could believe that to be the case but still believe that public schools are underfunded.”

RELATED:These are Colorado’s top 20 high schools, according to U.S. News & World Report

The poll didn’t ask respondents’ opinions about specific proposals, however, and it’s possible the agreement could splinter when electors have to weigh trade-offs.

State Sen. Jeff Bridges, a Democrat representing Arapahoe County and a member of the education committee, aforementioned he anticipates some parties could work together on occupation education next year. This year, the legislative assembly passed a bill establishing a pilot program to give schools full funding when students spend part of their week at internships, and some other to expand access to some occupation and college courses in high school, he aforementioned.

“There’s more that we can and need to do,” he aforementioned. “If you can graduate from high school and get a good job, that’s a win for the student and the state.”

Sage Naumann, interpreter for Colorado Senate Republicans, aforementioned he wasn’t astonied to see high levels of support for occupation education, despite decades of emphasis on following college.

“It’s not only important that our schools offer pathways to these occupation careers, but that our leadership make it clear that those careers are worthy, well-paying and of extreme importance to the fabric of our nation,” he aforementioned in a statement.

Both Naumann and Bridges pointed out that school boards set salaries for their own teachers, limiting what the legislative assembly can do, but they had different ideas about how to move forward. Naumann pointed to two unsuccessful bills sponsored by Republicans, which would have given bonuses to “highly effective” teachers and offered a tax credit for purchasing supplies. Bridges recommcomplete that if school boards don’t raise teacher pay, electors might rally behind a potential ballot question to give state government more power to set salaries.

Other issues didn’t have support from a clear majority. Half of electors polled supported vouchers to pay for private-school tuition, piece 37 percentage opposed them and 13 percentage weren’t sure. The poll has a margin of error of about 3.5 percentageage points, so actual support for vouchers could be as low as 46.5 percentage, or as high as 53.5 percentage — and where it falls inside that range would be an important question for any politician pushing so much a program to ask.

Opinions besides were closely divided on whether parents needed more freedom to choose a school for their children, with 40 percentage expression they had enough freedom, 47 percentage expression more needed to be done and 13 percentage unsure.

The margin of error is larger for subgroups in the poll, so in some cases it’s difficult to tell if there’s any meaty difference of opinion between groups. galore questions bust down on a clear partisan divide, though.

More than eight out of 10 Democrats supported state funding for full-day educational institution, which passed this session, piece less than half of Republicans did. Democrats were more likely to have a favorable view of Colorado’s public education system as a whole, piece Republicans were more likely to have positive sensitivity about charter schools.

Overall, however, people who responded to the survey aforementioned they had positive views of their local schools, and of public education. About 58 percentage aforementioned they had a favorable opinion of public education in Colorado, and 59 percentage approved of their local schools’ work.

The questions were worded otherwise, but it wouldn’t be amazing if people’s sensitivity about their local schools shaped their views of public education as a whole, jock aforementioned.

“I would expect those numbers to be similar unless person has had either an extremely positive or an extremely negative experience with their local school district that they are able to separate from their opinion on public schools in general,” he aforementioned.

The breakdown was different for charter schools, with 43 percentage coverage a favorable opinion and 22 percentage an unfavorable one. But 35 percentage, or more than one person out of three, aforementioned they weren’t sure or had no opinion.

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Magellan surveyed 731 registered electors, with a mix of party affiliations that reflects the Colorado vote population. It’s the firm’s first in-depth poll on Coloradoans’ opinions on education, which Democrats and independent electors consistently rank as one of their top issues, jock aforementioned.

“The idea is that this would be the first in a series of annual surveys so that we can track results over time,” he aforementioned.

One question, on school safety, could not yet generate different answers. The survey complete May 1, less than a week before nine students were shot — one fatally — at STEM School Highlands Ranch. At that time, 71 percentage of respondents thought schools were “somewhat safe,” and 11 percentage thought they were “very safe.”

“It’s the kind of question that can be impacted by recent events, and so I would expect some the ‘very safe’ and ‘somewhat safe’ responses to drop some, though it’s difficult to say how much,” jock aforementioned. “The elector’s proximity to STEM School Highlands Ranch would obviously be a significant factor.”

Other highlights of the poll:

  • Three-quarters of those who answered aforementioned education was a “very” or “extremely” important issue for them.
  • Two-thirds of respondents in agreement schools were disbursement too much time preparing for standardized tests, piece fifth disin agreement.
  • About 63 percentage of those surveyed in agreement public schools were “setting students up for success,” piece 26 percentage disin agreement.
  • When asked what they wanted out of a school, parents were more likely than non-parents to list safety and a positive environment. piece strong academics was the top choice of some parents and non-parents, those without children chose it by a lesser margin.
  • When asked what type of school they would prefer for their child (regardless of whether they have one), all groups were most likely to choose a traditional public school except Republicans, who were most likely to choose a private school.