BSU survey: Idahoans are optimistic, but not about K-12

While Idahoans are generally positive about the direction the state is going, that sentiment doesn’t extend to K-12.

More than 60 percent of Idahoans rate the state’s school system as fair or poor, according to Boise State University’s annual Idaho Public Policy Survey, released Thursday.

“Public education remains both the top policy priority for Idahoans as well as an ongoing area of concern,” according a summary of the Boise State survey.

The hard numbers, as they relate to K-12:

  • Asked to rate the state’s K-12 system, nearly 63 percent of respondents gave ratings of fair or poor. Only 29 percent of respondents said Idaho has a good K-12 system, and only 4 percent rated schools as excellent.
  • The results improve slightly when respondents are asked about their local schools — although nearly 49 percent of respondents still gave ratings of fair or poor. Thirty-two percent of respondents said their local schools are good, and 12 percent rated local schools as excellent.
  • Sixty-six percent of respondents said the state is doing a fair or poor job of preparing students for education beyond high school. Twenty-five percent said the state is doing a good job in this area, and only 5 percent said the state is doing an excellent job. (To dive into this issue further, here’s a link to our December series, “Life After High School: Options and Outcomes for Idaho Graduates.”)

Compared to their tepid responses on education, Idahoans seem fairly content on other topics. For example, 57 percent of respondents said Idaho is headed on the right track and 63 percent said the state’s tax rates are just about right. When asked about the size of the state’s budget — which finances K-12 and other state programs — 50 percent of respondents said the state should keep the budget intact, or cut spending.

Asked about the responses on the budget, and the responses on K-12, Boise State survey director Justin Vaughn said, “If there is a disconnect it’s a disconnect that has existed for a while.”

Boise State surveyed 1,000 adults by telephone between Dec. 2 and 7. The survey was structured to represent Idahoans by age and gender, and represent Idaho counties based on population. Results have a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday