Oregon’s Teens Sound Off on Public Education: Part 2 | Chalkboard Project

Oregon’s Teens Sound Off on Public Education: Part 2

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 Ari Wubbold

Ari has a background in legislative research and political science. He is an associate with DHM Research and before that he was a research assistant for the Office of Government Relations at Portland State University. Ari graduated from the University of Oregon and holds a B.A. in English Literature. He is currently attending Portland State University as a Master’s student in Political Science.

DHM Research is proud to have worked with the Chalkboard Project on the 2013 Oregon Student Survey. This study was an effort to learn what Oregon high school students think about public education in our state. Media coverage of the survey can be found here, here, and here. While my previous blog post focused on the findings from the student engagement portion of the survey, I’d like to take this opportunity to focus on the 200+ students who took part in the scientific random sample portion of the study, specifically those findings that have not yet been covered in the media. The survey sample was reflective of the Oregon high school student population as a whole.

Let’s start with student's opinions about the kinds of classes that are currently available to them. The trend we observed was, given the opportunity to weigh in, students prefer expanded class offerings.   

Roughly two-thirds (63%) of students disagreed with the statement, there are too many classes offered outside of the core areas of reading, writing, and math.
Later in the survey, 58% of students said their district places too little emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. This sentiment was higher among males than females (67% vs. 50% said too little).
Students who felt that additional funding is needed for public K-12 education were provided the open-ended opportunity to explain why. The second-most popular response was more elective classes (23%).

Also of interest are student’s responses to a series of statements regarding issues outside of the classroom that can impact their educational experience.

Roughly nine in ten (88%) students agreed with the statement, having family support for learning at home is essential for students’ success in school.
Only three in ten (31%) students said they were interested in volunteering to help improve the state’s K-12 education system. This interest in volunteering jumped to 42% when we asked the question of self-identified student leaders (participated in leadership opportunities such as student government, tutoring, service learning, etc.).
Lastly, only 20% of students agreed with the statement, the business community in my district is doing enough to help the public schools. However, roughly half of students (47%) were either neutral (31%) or unsure (16%) on the issue, indicating that their opinions are far from fixed.

Well there you have it: a thin slice of the data from the Chalkboard Project and DHM Research’s recent Oregon Student Survey. If you are interested in reading more about the study I strongly suggest you check out the media stories linked to earlier in this post. We’ve been excited to see the passionate public reaction to this study and we look forward to future surveys of Oregon students!

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