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K-12 Education

Public opinion survey: quality and funding of public K-12 education in Michigan must increase

LANSING, Mich. – As new backpacks are stuffed with fresh notebooks and pencils and teachers prep their classrooms for the return of students, a public opinion survey released today shows many voters lack confidence in K–12 quality and funding. 

The statewide survey of 600 voters commissioned by Launch Michigan shows that 54 percent of voters approve of Michigan’s current public education system, while 27 percent disapprove.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents in the survey believe lack of classroom funding is impacting quality, with only 25 percent of voters saying Michigan public schools have enough money, and 65 percent saying they need more funding. The most overwhelming support on the survey was for increased funding for students with extra learning needs, with 90 percent approving of additional money for students that are experiencing disability, language skills or poverty. 

“Concerns about the quality of a child’s education are normally borne by parents, yet this survey shows that a lack of confidence about Michigan’s current education system extends to those without children in public schools,” said Adam Zemke, President of Launch Michigan. “Employers who count on the state’s public education system for a future talent pipeline are reckoning with the fact that many students are not being equipped to succeed in the 21st century workforce.” 

When asked about the quality of public education over the past few years, 75 percent of respondents say it has stayed the same or worsened, whereas just 13 percent say it has improved. 

“Improving Michigan’s educational success starts with giving schools more funding to work with,” said Paula Herbart, President of the Michigan Education Association. “The research shows us there are supports and programs we can put in place at every level – from educators to students – that will help everyone succeed. Those programs need financing, and from this survey we know the public recognizes and supports that.” 

Further findings from the July survey show 58 percent of voters saying  educator salaries are too low, with 28 percent saying they are about right. In terms of who bears responsibility for improving Michigan’s public schools, 36 percent said state government, 22 percent said parents and students, and 15 percent responded it falls to local school boards.

The 600-person sample of registered voters via live phone survey was conducted July 10-15, 2021 by the Glengariff Group. The full survey is available at www.launchmichigan.org/research.

About Launch Michigan

Launch Michigan is an unprecedented partnership of business, education, labor, philanthropy, and civic leaders dedicated to boosting education excellence for every student, every school, and our state.

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