Tri-County Residents Speak Out On Education & School Reform

In the second poll conducted this year as part of Skillman’s “Concerning Kids” study, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County residents ranked lack of money and the quality of teachers as the two most important issues facing public schools. Most residents believe the State can do more to raise academic performance.

This second survey focused specifically on issues relating to public education and the progress of school reform. According to Kari Schlachtenhaufen, President of The Skillman Foundation, “The most important finding is that the public wants educational improvements, but is having trouble getting their arms around the goals and outcomes of school reform. In situations like this, it is incumbent upon education and political leaders to help the public better understand the issue of school reform and articulate it in a way the public can understand and measure its success.”

“Concerning Kids” also found a vast difference in views regarding the quality of local public schools. Approximately six out of ten people in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb Counties gave their public schools a grade of “B” or higher, while only about three out of ten respondents in Detroit gave their public schools the same rating.

The majority of respondents indicated MEAP tests should be required at all schools, but believe the MEAP may not be the best measure for determining whether a school is meeting minimum academic requirements. Also, the majority of respondents in each region believe MEAP scores would improve if funding on a per-student basis were increased at schools.

On the topic of school reform, the findings show over half of people in Metro Detroit believe public schools across the nation need major reform, but when it comes to local school reform in the tri-county area, only Wayne County and the City of Detroit showed a majority of residents believe major reform is needed in their region. And, among Detroit respondents regarding the School Board, 74% would prefer an elected school board by the general public.

Regarding school alternatives, full service schools that provide meals, after school activities, total physical, mental and emotional health care as well as family support, is the most favored over a voucher system, charter schools or home schooling.

Finally, support for an increase in taxes for public school funding was split with nearly half of all respondents in each region favoring and opposing a general tax increase to pay for increased spending for improving public schools.

For more information about this report, check the Resources page for a copy or call 313-393-1185.