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HPU/News & Record Poll: Guilford County Residents Support Increasing Teacher Pay

11.20.2013
In: News

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 20, 2013 – A majority of Guilford County residents say they would support a tax increase in order to raise teacher salaries.

The HPU/News & Record Poll found 74 percent of Guilford County residents would support a tax increase to raise teacher salaries, while 23 percent would not and 4 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

The poll also found that 81 percent of Guilford County residents believe public kindergarten through twelfth grade schools don’t receive enough funding, and 45 percent believe the state should bear the most financial responsibility when it comes to funding schools. Twenty-six percent said the federal government should bear the most responsibility, and 17 percent believe the local government should have the primary financial responsibility.

“Most people we talked to in Guilford County believe more money should be spent on education,” says Dr. Sadie Leder Elder, assistant professor of psychology and associate director of the HPU Poll. “They’re even willing to pay more in taxes if it means increasing the pay for teachers.”

The poll of Guilford County residents also asked respondents about new education legislation passed by the state government. The poll was split on making vouchers available to students who qualify for free or reduced school lunches to go to private schools, with 47 percent saying it is good use of taxpayer money and 48 percent saying it is not good use of taxpayer money. However, 52 percent believe the law will improve education for low-income students and 41 percent do not.

When it comes to teachers getting master’s degrees, 69 percent of respondents think having an advanced degree improves a teacher’s performance. The state budget bill passed this year eliminates the automatic pay increase teachers receive for earning a master’s degree.

All Adults – Tax increase for teacher salaries

Teacher salaries in North Carolina have been largely stagnant for six years, and the average salary places North Carolina 46th in the nation for teacher pay. Would you support a tax increase to raise teacher salaries?

Yes – 74 percent
No – 23 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 4 percent

(All adult (Guilford County resident) sample surveyed Nov. 4 – 7 and 9 – 12, 2013, n = 703 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 3.7 percent)

All Adults – K-12 school funding

Do you believe public kindergarten through twelfth grade schools in North Carolina receive enough funding?

Yes – 14 percent
No – 81 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 5 percent

(All adult (Guilford County resident) sample surveyed Nov. 4 – 7 and 9 – 12, 2013, n = 703 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 3.7 percent)

All Adults – Government funding

Public schools are funded with federal, state, and local dollars. Which of these levels of government do you believe should bear the most responsibility for funding public schools: federal, state, or local?

Federal – 26 percent
State – 45 percent
Local – 17 percent
(All of them equally) – 9 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 2 percent

(All adult (Guilford County resident) sample surveyed Nov. 4 – 7 and 9 – 12, 2013, n = 703 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 3.7 percent)

All Adults – School vouchers

New legislation, vouchers will be available next March to allow students whose families meet the guidelines for free or reduced school lunches to go to private schools. Families can receive 4,200 dollars per year or 90 percent of annual tuition costs, whichever is less. Do you feel this is a good use of taxpayer money?

Yes – 47 percent
No – 48 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 5 percent

(All adult (Guilford County resident) sample surveyed Nov. 4 – 7 and 9 – 12, 2013, n = 703 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 3.7 percent)

All Adults – Low-income student education

Do you think this new law will improve education for low-income students?

Yes – 52 percent
No – 41 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 7 percent

(All adult (Guilford County resident) sample surveyed Nov. 4 – 7 and 9 – 12, 2013, n = 703 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 3.7 percent)

All Adults – Teacher education

The state budget bill passed this year eliminates the automatic pay increase teachers receive for earning a master’s degree. Do you think having an advanced degree improves a teacher’s performance?

Yes – 69 percent
No – 28 percent
(Don’t know/refused) – 3 percent

(All adult (Guilford County resident) sample surveyed Nov. 4 – 7 and 9 – 12, 2013, n = 703 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 3.7 percent)

The most recent survey was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Nov. 4 – 7 and 9 – 12, 2013. The responses from a sample Guilford County landline telephone exchanges and cell phones associated with zip codes in Guilford County came from 703 adults with landline or cellular telephones. Those respondents were further screened to ensure they considered themselves to be residents of Guilford County. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 3.7 percentage points for these respondents. The data are weighted toward population estimates for age, gender and race. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. Memos with approval ratings for North Carolina from the early September, March, February and January 2013 HPU Polls are available at:

http://acme.highpoint.edu/~mkifer/src/24memob.pdf
http://acme.highpoint.edu/~mkifer/src/23memoc.pdf
http://acme.highpoint.edu/~mkifer/src/22memob.pdf
http://acme.highpoint.edu/~mkifer/src/21memoc.pdf

Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Dr. Sadie Leder Elder, assistant professor of psychology, serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll.

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