By super-majorities, Idahoans support the pay raises legislators were considering for teachers next year, favor mandatory kindergarten for youngsters, and want parents to be able to take their kids out of public school if a school activity violate the parents’ religious beliefs.
Thus are the findings of a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates.
The poll was conducted just before the Idaho Legislature adjourned its annual general session – and the final education budget/teacher salary increases had not yet been set.
Still, lawmakers, teachers and public school officials were talking about what kind of funding/raises should come next year.
Jones found that 81 percent of Idahoans supported the teacher pay raises being talked about by lawmakers, 14 percent opposed the pay hikes, and 5 percent didn’t know.
Asked if kindergarten should be mandatory in Idaho, 72 percent of those polled said yes, 23 percent said no, and 5 percent didn’t know.
Jones asked if parents of public school children should be able to take their kids out of school if activities were planned that violated the parents’ religious beliefs.
And 69 percent agree parents should be able to do that, 28 percent said no and 4 percent didn’t know.
Finally, Jones asked respondents if they believed bullying in public schools over the last five years had increased, remained about the same, or decreased.
He found that 35 percent of all Idahoans believed bullying has increased in recent years, 39 percent said it has stayed about the same, 3 percent said it has decreased, and 24 percent didn’t know.
Here is an assessment of Idaho bullying laws by a national anti-bullying group.
Here is a list of the anti-bullying programs/campaigns that the state public education department currently undertakes.
Even with those efforts, unfortunately, the poll shows that many more Idahoans believe bullying in schools has increased over the last five years than believe it has decreased.
Typically, women have more to do with their children’s education than do men.
And Jones found that many more women believe bullying has increased in schools over the last five years:
-- 42 percent of women said bullying has increased, 27 percent of men said that; 32 percent of women said bullying has remained about the same, 45 percent of men said that; only 4 percent of women said bullying has decreased, 2 percent of men agreed; and 22 percent of women said they “didn’t know” if bullying has increased or not, 25 percent of men didn’t know.
It may be the case that those most recently in public schools may have a better feel for school issues than older Idahoans.
And Jones found that 43 percent of those 18-29 years old say bullying has increased in schools, 34 percent said it’s about the same.
Among those who are 40-49 years old – and more likely to have children in public schools – a third said bullying has increased, 47 percent said it’s about the same.
Perhaps a new anti-bullying law, just passed by lawmakers, can make a difference. Read about that new law here.