NASHVILLE — Fifty-two percent of Tennessee voters rate the state’s public school system as “poor” or “fair,” according to a new survey commissioned by conservative and free-market groups advocating greater choice in education.
The poll of 1,200 likely voters, released this morning, found that 17 percent of respondents rated the state’s public school system as poor, while 35 percent called it fair. Only 11 percent rated schools as “excellent,” and 18 percent called them “good.”
Nineteen percent were undecided, according to the poll, sponsored by the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research and Tennessee Tax Revolt, among other groups. The groups advocate greater choice through the use of education vouchers and charter schools.
“First of all, it shows that Tennesseans do want choice in education,” said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.
The Tennessee Education Association’s chief lobbyist, Jerry Winters, questioned the poll’s accuracy and attacked its sponsors.
“The Tennessee Center for Policy Research is generally known as being an arch-conservative, rather right-wing-leaning group, and certainly the Friedman Foundation meets the same description,” Mr. Winters said. “I guess without seeing the results I would certainly from the outset (question) the objectivity and the fairness of the results.”
The poll was conducted by Strategic Vision with what sponsors say was a three percent plus or minus margin of error.
Among other findings, the poll found that, if given a choice of where to send their child to “obtain the best education,” only 15 percent of those surveyed would choose a “regular public school.”
For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...