Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Texas Association of School Boards publish a survey showing 90% of Texans support increasing spending on education...Let me explain why this is one of the MOST bogus surveys I have ever seen. I think you will be convinced too.

I missed this one: Last year, the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) published the results of a poll they commissioned as proof that Texasn overwhelmingly support increasing funding for public education.
""Ninety percent of Texans agree that Texas’ public schools need more money from the state, according to a survey recently commissioned by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) and conducted by Texas Poll. This number remains consistent from a year ago, when 88 percent said the state should provide more funding to public education.
 These results do not surprise me, given the question asked (This IS the question they used):
Source: Texas Poll
I encourage you to look at this survey (HERE) and consider it an example of a REALLY bad survey. In general, MOST people do not know how much is spent on all (or any) facets of education.  In a GOOD academic survey people are asked this question as posed above, then they are told HOW MUCH is ACTUALLY spent on on different areas of education. The poll numbers change rather dramatically as a result.  Here is a national study from EducationNext and the outcomes from asking the question from both sides:
Source: EducationNext
The first question gives the respondents the ACTUAL cost of delivering education in their area and the second question is similar in tone as the TASB question. The questions were not asked in this order--they were randomized.

Just look at the "Greatly Increase" and "Increase" and "National" columns. When no cost reference is given, people are more generous---59% want to greatly increase or increase. When a cost reference IS given, the percentages drop to 46%.  Most of the ones that bailed on increasing spending went to "Stay the Same". This is statistically significant.

Even the self-identified teachers had MUCH LARGER drop in support when given a cost reference!! 

My conclusion is the TASB poll is a political poll and should not be taken seriously. I wonder how much they paid to have it conducted?

If the Texans polled had been presented with similar cost information would the results had been so overwhelmingly favorable? Also, TASB shows that most favor increasing taxes to pay for education, but they did not ask if the respondent would want THEIR taxes raised. Yes, there are two possible answers to that question.  I think that is something TASB did not really want to find out.   

Teachers: We don't escape as a group either. Here is the question about teacher pay. The first question is asked when told what average salaries are (43%), and the second question is asked as a general policy should teachers make more money (58%). 

 Beware of any survey result that gives an overwhelming edge to one side or the other.  There probably was a large disconnect between what people thought and the reality. 

Class dismissed....
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