A February survey of Washington voters by The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice indicates that voters there are much less likely to favor increased spending on K-12 education once they know how much money their state already spends.

Almost one-fifth (19%) of survey participants correctly identified their state’s per-student funding level: According to the survey, Washington spent $9,688 per student in 2008-9. About half (46%) thought the state spent $8,000 or less.

The survey asked if Washingtonians thought public school funding is too low. One subgroup was asked if they thought funding was too low before being told what the actual level was. Of those people, 56% said that public school funding is “too low.” But the other subgroup was told what Washington spends before being asked their opinion of the funding level. Of respondents who knew that Washington already spends about $10,000 per child, only 42% thought Washington’s education spending was “too low” – effectively a 25% reduction.

More than half of Washingtonians surveyed (52%) think K-12 education in their state is on the “wrong track.” Only 31% think it’s going in the “right direction.” But when Washington voters know how much money their state already spends per child, they are far less likely to think the problem with K-12 education is funding than when they don’t know. Policymakers, politicians, and education lobbyists should take care when blaming problems in K-12 education on funding. When voters know the truth, they aren’t convinced the problem is money.

 

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

 

Other Publications by Kathryn

$15 Minimum Wage? More May Turn Out to Be Less

Kathryn Hickok | October 29, 2014
Last summer, Seattle passed an ordinance raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour. A Portland-area restaurant owner recently explained in The Oregonian how a ...  read more

School Choice Fosters Students’ “Profound Gratitude,” Author Says

Kathryn Hickok | September 17, 2014
Students everywhere are back in school, including grade school children from low-income families who are attending Oregon private schools thanks to the Children’s Scholarship Fund-Portland. ...  read more

The Votes Are In: Small Scholarships Have a Big Impact

Kathryn Hickok | September 3, 2014
The Children’s Scholarship Fund is a nationally recognized, privately funded scholarship program which has helped more than 139,000 low-income children attend tuition-based elementary schools nationwide ...  read more

More On These Topics

Scare Tactics Not Working in Road Tax Debates

John Charles | November 19, 2014
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) recently issued a report describing the deteriorating condition of Oregon highways. The authors estimate that the cumulative cost to ...  read more

Arizonans Gain the “Right to Try” to Save Their Lives

Cascade Policy Institute | November 12, 2014
Amid last week’s election excitement, Arizonans overwhelmingly approved their “Right to Try” referendum, allowing terminally ill patients access to experimental drugs that have completed basic ...  read more

A Time for Choosing

Steve Buckstein | November 5, 2014
Did you choose between a left or right in yesterday’s election? If that phrase sounds familiar, perhaps you watched an emerging leader utter it 50 ...  read more