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EPIC/MRA just polled me re. MEA/education issues

By Charles Gaba - Posted on 06 March 2009

At the most-recent Berkley Dems meeting (just two days ago) I mentioned being polled. Well, two days later, it happened again--this time by the well-known Michigan-specific polling firm EPIC/MRA.

Following are the questions and my responses to the best of my frantic chicken scratch note recollection:

1. Country headed in right/wrong direction? RIGHT DIRECTION*

2. Michigan headed in right/wrong direction? RIGHT DIRECTION*

(note that these are based on the future now that we have Dems mostly running things, not based on the current disaster)

3. Biggest problem facing Michigan? ECONOMY, DUH.

4. Most important other issue facing Michigan (out of a list of 7-8): HEALTHCARE

5. (some other question about big issues; I don't recall)

6. Do I think Michigan's economy will be better/worse/same in 1 year? ABOUT THE SAME

7. How's the quality of education in Michigan overall? FAIRLY GOOD

8. (something else about Mich. education; I don't recall)

9. How do I think private/religious education compares with local public education? ABOUT THE SAME (total guess, I have no idea)

10. How good is the quality of Michigan higher ed (4-year colleges)? FAIRLY GOOD

11. How good is the quality of Michigan community colleges? FAIRLY GOOD

12. Does my local school system have enough money or need more funding? NEED MORE (lucky guess lol)

13. Am I paying too much/right amount/not enough in state taxes? RIGHT AMOUNT

14. How high a priority are the following educational issues (high/somewhat/low/not at all)?

a. High standards? HIGH
b. Parental involvement? HIGH
c. Teacher pay/benefits? HIGH
d. Keeping student/teacher ratios low? SOMEWHAT
e. State funding of local schools? SOMEWHAT
f. Teaching the basics (math/science/etc)? HIGH
g. Reducing truancy/dropouts? SOMEWHAT
h. Teaching "values" and/or honesty/ethics? LOW (this should be taught at home at this level IMHO, and the "values" bit was a red flag)
i. Teaching to get high standardized test scores? LOW
j. College prep? SOMEWHAT
k. Quality preschool programs? HIGH
l. Access to recent technology? HIGH
m. Teaching kids to be ready to compete for high-tech jobs? HIGH; seemed like a repeat of l, of course)

15. Of the above, which is the single most important? PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT

16. Educational support staff (janitorial/secretarial/etc) pay/benefits--too high/too low/about right? TOO LOW

17. Teacher pay--high/low/right? TOO LOW

18. Teacher benefits--high/low/right? TOO LOW

19. Should teacher or support staff pay/benefits be cut to balance the state budget? NO.

20. Early retirement program proposal has been put forth (offer bonus pay to 62,000 teachers for retiring early to save up to $410 million); favor/oppose/don't know? DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT IT

21. (something about the student drop-out rate in Michigan)

22. Who's most at fault for high drop-out rate (students/parents/teachers/admin/state)? PARENTS

23. Do I know about the MEA's recent ad campaign? I DO NOW...

24. MEA is behind the early retirement program plan; does that make me more/less likely to favor the plan? MORE FAVORABLE

25. Do I think of the MEA as a Union or as a Professional Organization? UNION (rather interesting question)

26-35. (various demographic questions about me--employment, ethnicity, age, religion, political leanings, etc)