DENVER (KDVR) — More Coloradans think schools are headed down the wrong path than the right one, but they disagree about what the wrong path looks like.
Colorado polling firm Magellan Strategies released the first part of a statewide survey about school attitudes today. The survey was completed in concert with education news site Chalkbeat Colorado and analyzed the public attitudes of nearly 900 Coloradans of differing races, incomes, locations and political affiliations.
Among other findings, the survey results show a plurality of Coloradans think the state’s public schools are headed for trouble. Forty-four percent said schools are headed down the wrong track, while only 28% said schools are headed in the right direction. The rest are unsure or have no opinion.
Political affiliation predicts the attitude.
Registered Democrats were much more likely too say schools are headed in the right direction, with 35% instead of the 30% saying schools are going down the wrong path. Unaffiliated voters were more likely to disapprove of public schools’ trajectory, with 42% saying they’re headed down the wrong path and 29% saying they’re on the right one.
Republicans, however, were much less likely to approve of public education’s direction. Of Republican voters, 62% said they didn’t like where schools are headed. Only 18% said they liked public schools’ path.
Respondents have different reasons, however. They were allowed to make open answers as to why they felt schools were headed in the right or wrong direction.
Democrats were more likely to list items such as poor teacher pay or overemphasis on standardized testing. Others said they think conservative school leaders are stifling the curriculum.
Republicans said nearly the opposite. They were more likely to say they think schools overemphasize social, race and sex curricula at the expense of reading, writing and arithmetic, resulting in poor overall performance.