California Schools Score Poorly in Poll as Confidence Low

A majority of Californians questioned in the new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll said that their public schools were in bad shape, and about half said they were getting worse – and they attribute this to funding shortages and wasteful spending on administration and bureaucratic barriers to innovation, writes Teresa Watanabe at the LA Times.

Roughly half of those polled said that they supported in principle the right of parents to demand sweeping changes at low-performing schools.

The changes could include reshuffling the faculty, the curriculum and in some cases even converting to charter schools or closing campuses altogether.

Last year, California became the first state in the nation to extend that right through what is known as the Parent Trigger law.

Those polled, however, weren't completely pessimistic. Many were positive about their local schools and expressed support for them.

Sixty-four percent said their neighborhood campuses were doing a good or excellent job of preparing their children or grandchildren for college.

This came in contrast to how they felt about schools statewide.

The survey was conducted for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the Los Angeles Times by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm, and American Viewpoint, a Republican company.

The poll consists of data drawn from questioning 1,500 registered California voters. Conducted at regular intervals throughout the year, the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Poll is one of the largest polls of registered voters in the state and has been widely cited, aiming to help to inform the public and to encourage discourse on key political and policy issues.

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