Oregon's teens sound off on public education | The Chalkboard Project

Oregon's teens sound off on public education

Thursday, July 25, 2013 Ari Wubbold

Ari has a background in legislative research and political science. He supports DHM Research principals and associates with report writing, website maintenance, and project management. He was until recently a research assistant for the Office of Government Relations at Portland State University. Before that he served on the staff of the Center for Public Service, specializing in social media assistance and website development.

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 and excited to be working with the Chalkboard Project on the 2013 Oregon Student Survey. This study is an effort to learn what Oregon high school students think about public education in our state. To date, as part of the non-scientific, student engagement portion of the project, 300 students have shared their thoughts with us. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide a teaser of what we’ve learned so far. Final results, including the results of a scientific random sample survey, will be shared with the public shortly before the start of the coming school year.

When comparing the education they have personally received to that provided to all students, respondents were much more satisfied with their own personal education: (83% vs. 49%).
When asked about what is expected of students in Oregon schools, 41% of respondents said that expectations were just about right. Notably, respondents were more than four times as likely to believe Oregon public schools expect students to learn too little rather than too much (38% vs. 9%).
We then asked students about funding issues in Oregon schools. With scores higher than what we see from traditional voter surveys, 79% said that additional funding is needed for K-12 education.
In another divergence from traditional voter surveys, thirty four percent (34%) were unsure whether their local public school district spends money wisely (voters tend to have pretty strong opinions on this point).
Students had little doubt when it came to what level of education the state should prioritize its funding for in order to best improve student achievement, with one-half (51%) specifying the high school grades of 9-12. For reference, the next most popular education level for allocating funds was K-5th grade (17%).
Lastly, we touched on school safety. Students overwhelmingly felt that their school is safe (86% vs. 6% unsafe). However, seven in ten (69%) agreed that bullying in schools is a serious problem and additional legislation is needed to address it.

Well there you have it! Some very interesting findings from the non-scientific, student engagement portion of the 2013 Oregon Student Survey. Stay tuned for the release of complete results later this summer. I personally can’t wait to see what the scientific survey shows and to dig deeper into the data to see how students’ opinions differ by grade level, gender, ethnicity, and other demographic groups. Special thanks to Sara Nilles of the Oregon Association of Student Councils (OASC) for allowing us to administer the survey to some of the (lucky?) student leaders attending their spring conference.

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