Poll: Seattle Residents Satisfied With School Performance

By Erica C. Barnett January 4, 2012

A new Elway Poll of Seattle residents finds that most residents (60 percent) have a favorable view of the Seattle School District in general, and that even stronger majorities have a positive view "schoolteachers" (80 percent) and "your local school" (62 percent). However, a majority of respondents (56) said they had no opinion of interim schools superintendent Susan Enfield, with only 13 percent saying they approved of her performance. Enfield announced she would not seek a permanent position as superintendent earlier this year.

More findings from the survey (available online here):

• Parents, particularly parents of Seattle Public Schools students, were universally more likely to have a favorable view of schools, teachers, the superintendent, and their local school and PTSA, than parents of children in private school and non-parents. For example, while 83 percent of SPS parents had a favorable view of their local public school, just 55 percent parents of children in non-public schools (and 56 percent of non-parents) had a favorable view. Similarly, while 79 percent of SPS parents viewed the school district as a whole favorably, just 39 percent of non-SPS parents (and 61 percent of non-parents) did.

• The school board, meanwhile, was universally unpopular, with just 33 percent of the public as a whole expressing a favorable view. Among stakeholders---teachers, school staffers, parents, and education advocates---the school board's approval rating was even lower, ranging from 16 to 31 percent.

• Similarly, the public gave low ratings to the school district's central administration, with just 23 percent saying they viewed the administration favorably. Only one group---school district staff---was more likely to view central administration favorably than negatively, with 32 percent saying they had a positive view of administration, compared to a 30 percent negative rating.

• Interestingly, despite mixed ratings for the district, a strong majority of every group surveyed (with the exception of non-SPS parents and non-parents) said they believed Seattle Public Schools students were getting a high quality of education, and a plurality of every group surveyed said the school district is heading in the "right direction."

• Classroom instruction was by far the highest spending priority among respondents (62 percent named it their "top priority"), followed by instructional materials (26 percent), technology (24 percent), teacher development (23 percent), and support services (10 percent). Asked, in general, what their "number one" priority would be, 65 percent of the public named classroom instruction.

Read the whole survey, including the qualities people said they want in a new schools superintendent, here.
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