Written by William Hale
New data concerning the Los Angeles Unified School District suggests that voters are losing confidence in the district’s quality of education. Only 18% of voters gave LAUSD a grade of A or B according to a new poll produced by UC Berkeley and the LA Times.
Perhaps even more striking is that nearly one-third gave LAUSD a grade of D or F. However, the data did vary between demographics, with people who identify as Asian having the highest confidence in their local schools (39% graded A or D) and Black individuals being the least confident, with a larger percentage of Blacks grading their local schools either D or F (34%) than A or B (24%).
It isn’t clear if master-based learning — a new concept introduced that prohibits students from earning grades worse than a “C” due to equity concerns — has skewed public opinion on the school district or not.
The new poll also provided some insight into popular opinion regarding teachers unions and standardized testing. Of course, political polarization has deeply infected voters on the influence of teachers unions. 43% of those polled agreed that teachers unions are too focused on the needs of teachers instead of students, and only 39% agree that teachers unions work to improve schools.
A significant age gap emerged on the question of standardized tests, with 65% of those 65 or older agreeing that standardized tests improve education, quite the contrast compared to those ages 18-29, who overwhelmingly agree that standardized tests hurt education (62%).
COVID-19 certainly played a role in the data, as there seems to be bipartisan agreement that “Zoom classes” are not optimal for students. If one thing is clear, it is that voters distrust local schools’ online education experiment.
Photo Cred: David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG