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Media Contacts

Terry Spradlin
Center for Evaluation and Education Policy
tspradli@indiana.edu.
812-855-4438

Jonathan Plucker
Center for Evaluation and Education Policy
jplucker@indiana.edu
812-855-4438

Tracy James
IU Media Relations
traljame@indiana.edu
812-855-0084

Last modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Hoosiers report satisfaction regarding Indiana public K-12 schools but see room for improvement

Findings released from IU's 2005 Public Opinion Survey on Education in Indiana

EDITORS: To speak with Jonathan Plucker or Terry Spradlin today (Jan. 4), call Plucker at 812-325-7608 and Spradlin at 317-847-2575. On Thursday (Jan. 5) and afterward, they can be reached at 812-855-4438.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 4, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For the third year in a row, a majority (62 percent) of Hoosier citizens reported that Indiana public K-12 schools were underfunded, with a growing number of respondents (59 percent) reporting they would pay higher taxes to increase school funding, according to "2005 Public Opinion Survey on Education in Indiana," conducted by Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy.

Another noteworthy finding concerning school funding is the percentage increase of Indiana residents who oppose funding cuts to public schools as a means to balance the state budget -- 76 percent in 2005 as opposed to 60 percent in 2004.

In their report, which was presented to the Indiana State Board of Education today (Jan. 4), CEEP researchers also show that Hoosier support for full-day kindergarten remains strong, with 61 percent of respondents reporting they would pay more taxes if necessary to fund a statewide full-day kindergarten program, compared to only 46 percent three years ago. About 83 percent of respondents said they supported some type of mandatory kindergarten education for Indiana kids.

As in each of the past two years, center researchers found that a majority of both parents and non-parents are satisfied with Indiana public education. About 55 percent of respondents said the quality of education in the state is good or excellent, 30 percent said it is fair, and only 7 percent said Indiana public education is poor. Respondents were more positive when it came to their own school districts -- 64 percent evaluate their local public schools as good or excellent. About 69 percent of Indiana residents evaluated teachers as good or excellent.

Respondents voicing support for an expansion of charter school programs declined slightly, from 56 percent in 2004 to 50 percent in 2005. Those saying they are opposed to charter school expansion rose from 19 percent in 2004 to 27 percent in 2005.

When asked whether the quality of Indiana public schools has changed for better or worse over the last five years, 32 percent said schools had improved, 16 percent said schools had declined, and 40 percent of respondents said they perceived no change.

Those who said schools had changed for the better most frequently attributed the improvement to new curricula, higher ISTEP scores, school facilities, teaching and access to computers.

What concerns respondents most about the state of Indiana education are high teacher-to-student ratios, reduced state support for schools, poor student discipline, school safety and low ISTEP scores.

CEEP researchers said respondents' opinions of the general direction of Indiana public education have not changed significantly over the last three years.

"2005 Public Opinion Survey on Education in Indiana" was coauthored by CEEP Director Jonathan Plucker and CEEP Associate Director Terry Spradlin, with additional support from Jason Zapf, Rosanne Chien and Rose Jackson.

The Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, Indiana's leading non-partisan education policy research center, promotes and supports rigorous program evaluation and education policy research primarily, but not exclusively, for educational, human services and nonprofit organizations. Center projects address state and national education questions. CEEP is part of the IU School of Education. To learn more about CEEP and the latest survey, go to http://ceep.indiana.edu.

To read the full report, go to: http://ceep.indiana.edu/projects/PDF/2005_Public_Opinion_Survey_on_Education_in_Indiana.pdf

Report coauthors Terry Spradlin and/or Jonathan Plucker can be reached at 812-855-4438. On Wednesday (Jan. 4), however, Plucker can be reached at 812-325-7608, and Spradlin can be reached at 317-847-2575.