INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana voters overwhelmingly oppose closing local schools based solely on the results of high-stakes, standardized test scores, according to a new statewide survey conducted by McLaughlin & Associates and released today by the Indiana Chapter of PublicSchoolOptions.org. Voters also view the state’s standardized test, I STEP, overwhelmingly unfavorably.
“Although Republicans and Democrats are often polarized on key issues, they overwhelmingly agree that public schools should not be closed based on standardized test scores alone,” said Stuart Polk, vice-president at McLaughlin & Associates. “Indiana voters are concerned about the quality of public education and improving schools, but the data shows Hoosiers believe closing public schools is not the solution.”
According to an October 16-18, 2016 McLaughlin & Associates poll:
- More than 2/3 of voters, or 67 percent, view the I STEP standardized test unfavorably
- Only 8% of voters think student performance on standardized tests is the most important indicator of a school’s quality
- 85% of voters oppose closing a public school based solely on low standardized test scores
- 80% to 15%, voters prefer a performance system that measures how well a school helps individual students versus standardized test scores
- 95% agree that before a public school closes a formal hearing should be required so parents and teachers can discuss the impact of the closure
- 90% of voters believe students who are succeeding should not be forced to leave their school just because other students are under-performing
- 75% of voters believe new students in a school should not be included in school evaluations until they have attended a full year
- 60% of voters are less likely to support education reform efforts by wealthy special interests who push legislation that would close public schools without parental input
These results should help guide legislators and education officials as they consider drafting charter school reform legislation that could have a broad impact on the state’s public charter schools.
Many viewed last week’s election results, and the defeat of Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, as a referendum to the increased emphasis on high-stakes, standardized testing in evaluating the state’s schools, teachers and students. These poll results confirm that sentiment.
STATEMENT FROM LETRISHA WEBER, INDIANA PUBLICSCHOOLOPTIONS.ORG CHAIR AND PARENT:
“Simply looking at high-stakes, standardized test scores to determine a school’s success isn’t reliable. We want successful and proactive schools for every Indiana child, but families and schools deserve a thoughtful, thorough approach to evaluating schools and individual students. We want policy makers and education leaders to look for better solutions that don’t lock students out of a school because of test scores. And we need schools that are evaluated on students’ progress, not a poorly acquired academic snapshot.”
STATEMENT FROM TILLIE ELVRUM, PRESIDENT OF PUBLICSCHOOLOPTIONS.ORG:
“As parents we know every child learns differently, even within the same family, and every class setting may not be right for every student. School accountability is very important, but it must be done in a way that focuses on individual students and less on school-wide average test scores. Further, we can’t punish students by closing schools based solely on high-stakes, standardized tests.”
The Indiana Chapter of PublicSchoolOptions.org is an alliance of parents that supports and defends parents’ right to access the best education options for their children.
Poll Methodology: McLaughlin & Associates completed a statewide survey of 600 likely voters in Indiana. The survey was conducted October 16-18, 2016 and has a margin of error of +/ 4% at a 95% confidence level.