How school stakeholders view the presidential election

It’s no surprise that funding was the most important education-related issue to readers involved in K-12 schools.

Stakeholders involved in K-12 education plan to vote for Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 presidential election, 53 percent to 42 percent, according to an informal poll of eSchool News readers.

But among those involved in private K-12 schools, the gap between Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, is somewhat smaller: 51 percent to 45 percent.

More than 1,000 readers responded to a five-question online survey in August and September. The results of the survey, while unscientific, provide a snapshot of how those involved in K-12 education view the presidential election.

Not surprisingly, the economy was the issue most important to readers this fall, with 64 percent of K-12 respondents indicating the economy as their first choice. Education was next, with 18 percent of K-12 respondents saying it was the most important campaign issue and 31 percent saying it was the second most important issue. Health care was the third most important issue among readers.

“We cannot have a government where the wealthiest determine rule and law and where politicians owe their allegiance to the wealthy, because they subsidize their campaigns,” wrote one Obama supporter. “There must be a strong middle class, and the focus must be on all of the people of this country, not the wealthiest.”

“Obama has had his time and failed miserably,” wrote a Romney supporter. “If our country is to be fiscally sound and respected in the world, a change in leadership is crucial.”

With many schools having suffered through several years of budget cuts, it’s also not a surprise that funding was the most important education-related issue to readers involved in K-12 schools: 38 percent gave this as their first choice, and 64 percent of readers chose funding as one of their top three education issues.

Revising No Child Left Behind was the next most important education issue to K-12 survey respondents, followed by Common Core standards and testing. How teachers are evaluated—a hot-button issue nationwide, and a key reason that Chicago teachers walked off the job earlier this month—was the fourth most important education issue in this election, with more than a third of respondents naming it as one of their top three education issues.

About 14 percent of the K-12 survey respondents said they work in private schools. Interestingly, this group put health care above education in terms of importance, and they ranked school choice as their No. 1 education-related issue.

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