October 4, 2022

scienceofedu

science of education

PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Education

15 min read

March 30–April 13, 2022
1,591 California adult residents; 1,059 California likely voters; 424 parents; 342 parents with school-age children; 307 public school parents:
English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified or traditional), Vietnamese, Korean

Margin of error ±3.3% at 95% confidence level for the total sample, ±3.9% for likely voters, ±6.1% for parents, ±6.9% for parents with school-aged children, ±7.2 for public school parents.
Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Newsom is handling the state’s kindergarten through 12th grade public education system?

60% approve
36% disapprove
4% don’t know

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that the California Legislature is handling the state’s kindergarten through 12th grade public education system?

56% approve
40% disapprove
4% don’t know

3. [likely voters only] In thinking about the 2022 governor’s election, how important to you are the candidate’s positions on K–12 public education—very important, somewhat important, or not too important?

51% very important
39% somewhat important
10% not too important
– don’t know

4. Thinking about the kindergarten through 12th grade public education system overall in California today, do you think it is generally going in the right direction or the wrong direction?

57% right direction
39% wrong direction
4% don’t know

Next,

5. What do you think is the most important issue facing California’s K–12 public schools today? [open-ended, code]

 10% concerns about curriculum
9% lack of funding
7% COVID-19/distance learning/school re-openings/masks/vaccines
6% concerns about standards/quality of education
5% concerns about political ideology influencing education
4% large class sizes
4% quality of teachers
4% teacher retention/shortage
3% low teacher pay
2% inequities
2% lack of discipline/behavior of children
2% safety/security
22% other (specify)
20% don’t know

 6. In your opinion, what is the most important goal of California’s K–12 public schools? [rotate 1-5]

27% teaching students life skills
24% preparing students for college
17% teaching students the basics
15% preparing students to be good citizens
11% preparing students for the workforce
5% other (specify) (volunteered)
1% don’t know

7. How much of a problem is the quality of education in California’s K–12 public schools today?

32% big problem
52% somewhat of a problem
14% not much of a problem
1% don’t know

8. Over the past few years, do you think the quality of education in California’s K–12 public schools has improved, gotten worse, or stayed the same?

13% improved
42% gotten worse
42% stayed the same
3% don’t know

On another topic,

 (questions 9 and 10 not asked)

11. [parents of school-age children only] Do you think your youngest school-aged child has fallen behind academically during the pandemic? (If yes, ask: “Do you think they have fallen behind a lot or only a little?”)

 19% yes, a lot
25% yes, a little
2% yes, don’t know (volunteered)
54% no
– don’t know

12. Which of these do you think will be the biggest challenge for public school students in your community as we emerge from the pandemic: [rotate] [1] catching up academically, [2] dealing with the social-emotional impacts of the pandemic, [or] [3] re-adjusting to regular school schedules and routines?

47% catching up academically
33% dealing with the social-emotional impacts
18% re-adjusting to regular school schedules and activities
1% don’t know

Next,

13. Currently, do you support or oppose the state’s decision to no longer require masks in schools?

 32% strongly support
29% somewhat support
25% somewhat oppose
12% strongly oppose
1% don’t know

14. [parents of school-age children only] Thinking about your youngest school-aged child, have they been vaccinated against COVID-19, or do you plan to get them vaccinated?

64% yes, they have already been vaccinated
4% yes, I plan to get them vaccinated right away
11% yes, I plan to get them vaccinated, but not right away
21% no, I will not get them vaccinated
– don’t know

[rotate questions 15 and 16]

 15. Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: If a vaccine against COVID-19 is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for school-age children, it should be required for all students in California schools, with allowable medical exemptions such as those for students who are allergic to components of the vaccine.

43% strongly agree
25% somewhat agree
11% somewhat disagree
21% strongly disagree
1% don’t know

16. Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: The COVID-19 vaccine should be required for all teachers in California schools, with allowable medical exemptions such as those for teachers who are allergic to components of the vaccine.

50% strongly agree
21% somewhat agree
10% somewhat disagree
18% strongly disagree
– don’t know

Changing topics,

[rotate questions 17 and 18]

 17. How concerned are you that California’s K–12 public schools in lower-income areas have a shortage of good teachers compared to schools in wealthier areas? Are you…

49% very concerned
36% somewhat concerned
10% not too concerned
3% not at all concerned
1% don’t know

18. How concerned are you that California’s K–12 public school students in lower-income areas are less likely than other students to be ready for college when they finish high school? Are you…

45% very concerned
40% somewhat concerned
12% not too concerned
3% not at all concerned
1% don’t know

19. Next, how much, if anything, have you heard about students who are English language learners in California?

20% a lot
44% a little
35% nothing at all
– don’t know

20. How concerned are you about improving student outcomes for English language learners in California today? Are you…

26% very concerned
47% somewhat concerned
20% not too concerned
6% not at all concerned
1% don’t know

21. In thinking about priorities for the kindergarten through 12th grade public education system in California, do you think that efforts to improve student outcomes for English language learners should be a…? [rotate order top to bottom]

16% very high priority
39% high priority
38% medium priority
5% low priority
2% very low priority
1% don’t know

22. How important is improving student outcomes for English language learners for California’s future economic wellbeing and quality of life?

47% very important
42% somewhat important
8% not too important
2% not at all important
1% don’t know

23. If it means less funding for other school districts, do you think school districts that have more English language learners should or should not get more funding from the state?

57% should
40% should not
3% don’t know

 24. To try to improve the academic performance of English language learners, would you favor or oppose providing extra assistance to these students, even if it means they receive more assistance than other students?

70% favor
28% oppose
2% don’t know

 [rotate questions 25 and 26]

 25. How concerned are you that students in lower-income areas have fallen further behind academically than students in wealthier areas during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you…

40% very concerned
42% somewhat concerned
13% not too concerned
4% not at all concerned
1% don’t know

26. How concerned are you that students who are English language learners have fallen further behind academically than English-speaking students during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you…

29% very concerned
49% somewhat concerned
16% not too concerned
5% not at all concerned
1% don’t know

[rotate questions 27 and 28]

 27. Where do you think California currently ranks in per pupil spending for K–12 public schools? Compared to other states, is California’s spending near the top, above average, average, below average, or near the bottom?

11% near the top
22% above average
39% average
19% below average
7% near the bottom
3% don’t know

28. Where do you think California currently ranks in student test scores for K–12 public schools? Compared to other states, are California’s student test scores near the top, above average, average, below average, or near the bottom?

3% near the top
14% above average
44% average
27% below average
9% near the bottom
3% don’t know

29. Next, overall, how would you rate the quality of public schools in your neighborhood today? If you had to give your local public schools a grade, would it be A, B, C, D, or F? Think of grades A to F as a scale where A is the best and F is failing.

12% A
38% B
34% C
11% D
3% F
2% don’t know

[rotate questions 30 and 31]

30. Are your local public schools doing an excellent, good, not so good, or poor job in preparing students for college?

10% excellent
54% good
28% not so good
5% poor
3% don’t know

 31. Are your local public schools doing an excellent, good, not so good, or poor job in preparing students for jobs and the workforce?

6% excellent
49% good
34% not so good
8% poor
3% don’t know

On another topic,

32. Do you think the current level of state funding for your local public schools is more than enough, just enough, or not enough?

11% more than enough
37% just enough
49% not enough
3% don’t know

33. If the state ballot had a bond measure to pay for school construction projects, would you vote yes or no?

63% yes
35% no
2% don’t know

34. Generally speaking, if the state ballot had a $15 billion bond measure to pay for the construction and modernization of public preschools, K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities, would you vote yes or no?

 64% yes
34% no
2% don’t know

[rotate questions 35 and 36]

35. If your local school district had a bond measure on the ballot to pay for school construction projects, would you vote yes or no?

61% yes
37% no
3% don’t know

36. What if there was a measure on your local ballot to increase local parcel taxes to provide more funds for the local public schools? Would you vote yes or no?

44% yes
54% no
2% don’t know

37. Generally speaking, do you think it is a good idea or a bad idea for local school districts to issue bonds to pay for school construction projects at this time?

50% good idea
46% bad idea
4% don’t know

 [rotate questions 38 to 40]

38. Do you think the current level of resources for lower-income students in your local public schools is more than enough, just enough, or not enough?

10% more than enough
37% just enough
50% not enough
3% don’t know

39. Do you think the current level of resources for English language learners in your local public schools is more than enough, just enough, or not enough?

12% more than enough
49% just enough
35% not enough
4% don’t know

40. Do you think the current level of resources for special education students in your local public schools is more than enough, just enough, or not enough?

8% more than enough
42% just enough
46% not enough
3% don’t know

 Following is a list of issues people have mentioned when talking about teachers in California’s K–12 public schools today. Please answer if you think it is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not really a problem.

[rotate questions 41 and 42]

41. How about teacher quality?

28% big problem
54% somewhat of a problem
16% not really a problem
2% don’t know

42. How about a shortage of teachers?

52% big problem
39% somewhat of a problem
7% not really a problem
1% don’t know

Next,

43. Do you think salaries for teachers in your community are too high, too low, or just about right?

4% too high
62% too low
31% just about right
3% don’t know

44. How would you MOST prefer that the state and local governments attract new K–12 public school teachers: [rotate] [1] increase the minimum starting salary; [2] provide forgivable loans for teacher education; [3] provide housing assistance such as mortgage guarantees [or] [4] reduce some of the requirements needed to get a teaching credential?

50% increase the minimum starting salary
25% provide forgivable loans for teacher education
12% provide housing assistance such as mortgage guarantees
10% reduce some of the requirements needed to get a teaching credential
1% other (specify) (volunteered)
2% don’t know

[rotate questions 45 and 46]

45. Should local schools in lower-income areas pay higher salaries to attract and retain teachers, even if it costs the state more money?

66% yes
31% no
2% don’t know

46. Should local schools in lower-income areas provide additional training and professional development to teachers, even if it costs the state more money?

75% yes
23% no
2% don’t know

47. How important is it to you that the public schools in your community have a mix of teachers from different racial and ethnic backgrounds? Is this…

26% extremely important
29% very important
25% somewhat important
10% not so important
9% not important at all
1% don’t know

On another topic,

48. How much, if anything, have you heard about the Local Control Funding Formula, a policy enacted in recent years that changes the way K–12 public school districts are funded in California?

4% a lot
19% a little
75% nothing at all
1% don’t know

49. The Local Control Funding Formula provides additional funding to school districts that have more [rotate] [English language learners] [and] [lower-income students] and gives local school districts more flexibility over how state funding is spent. In general, do you favor or oppose this policy?

75% favor
22% oppose
3% don’t know

50. As the state implements the Local Control Funding Formula, do you think the academic achievement of [rotate in same order as Q49] [English language learners] [and] [lower-income students] will or will not improve? (If improve, ask: “Do you think it will improve a lot or somewhat?”)

13% improve a lot
45% improve a little
12% improve, but not sure how much (volunteered)
25% will not improve
4% don’t know

(questions 51 and 52 not asked)

53. On another topic, do you think that the state government should or should not fund voluntary preschool programs, such as transitional kindergarten, for all four-year-olds in California?

72% should
26% should not
3% don’t know

(question 54 not asked)

55. How important is attending preschool to a student’s success in kindergarten through grade 12?

47% very important
30% somewhat important
15% not too important
6% not at all important
2% don’t know

 [rotate questions 56 and 57]

56. How much of a problem is the quality of preschool education in California today?

15% big problem
49% somewhat of a problem
32% not much of a problem
5% don’t know

57. How much of a problem is the affordability of preschool education in California today?

37% big problem
42% somewhat of a problem
15% not much of a problem
4% don’t know

[rotate questions 58 and 59]

58. How concerned are you that children in lower-income areas are less likely than other children to be ready for kindergarten? Are you…

25% very concerned
48% somewhat concerned
18% not too concerned
8% not at all concerned
1% don’t know

59. How concerned are you that students who speak English as a second language are less likely than other children to be ready for kindergarten? Are you…

20% very concerned
48% somewhat concerned
22% not too concerned
9% not at all concerned
1% don’t know

Changing topics,

60. How important to you is it that your local public schools include career technical or vocational education as part of the curriculum?

56% very important
33% somewhat important
7% not too important
3% not at all important
1% don’t know

61. Next, if you had to choose, which do you think is more important for young people to succeed today – [rotate] [1] earning a college degree from a well-respected university [or] [2] obtaining the knowledge or skills needed to do a specific job?

26% earning a college degree
61% obtaining knowledge or skills
12% neither (volunteered)
1% don’t know

62. In general, how well do you think your local public schools prepare someone for a well-paying job in today’s economy?

7% very well
37% somewhat well
41% not too well
12% not at all well
2% don’t know

On another topic,

63. [parents only] Thinking about four school types… [rotate] One is [1] traditional public schools. Another is [2] charter schools, which are publicly funded but run outside of the public school system. The third is [3] religious or parochial schools. And the fourth is [4] private schools. Imagine you could send your youngest child to any one of these four kinds of schools and cost and location were not an issue. All things equal, which would you pick?

34% public school
18% charter school
18% religious school
30% private school
– don’t know

64. [parents only] Next, what do you hope will be the highest grade level that your youngest child will achieve?

3% some high school
7% high school graduate
17% two-year community college graduate or career technical training
29% four-year college graduate
44% a graduate degree after college
– don’t know

65. [parents only] How worried are you about being able to afford a college education for your youngest child?

38% very worried
35% somewhat worried
18% not too worried
8% not at all worried
1% don’t know

Changing topics,

66. How big of a problem is racism in the U.S. today? Is it a…

49% big problem
32% somewhat of a problem
13% small problem
6% not a problem at all
1% don’t know

67. Thinking about your own experience, have you ever experienced discrimination or been treated unfairly because of your race or ethnicity? (If yes, ask: “Would you say regularly or from time to time?”)

4% yes, regularly
28% yes, from time to time
3% yes, don’t know (volunteered)
64% no
1% don’t know

68. In general, do you think the criminal justice system in the United States is biased against African Americans, or do you think the criminal justice system treats people equally regardless of race?

61% criminal justice system is biased against African Americans
37% criminal justice system treats people equally regardless of race
2% don’t know

On another topic,

69. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Governor Newsom is handling the issue of jobs and the economy?

54% approve
42% disapprove
4% don’t know

70. Turning to economic conditions in California, do you think that during the next 12 months we will have good times financially or bad times?

40% good times
57% bad times
4% don’t know

On another topic, California uses the direct initiative process, which enables voters to bypass the legislature and have issues put on the ballot—as state propositions—for voter approval or rejection.

71. [likely voters only] In general, do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing that a majority of voters can make laws and change public policies by passing initiatives?

67% good thing
31% bad thing
2% don’t know

72. [likely voters only] Generally speaking, would you say you are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, or not satisfied with the way the initiative process is working in California today?

6% very satisfied
57% somewhat satisfied
35% not satisfied
2% don’t know

73. [likely voters only] Do you think the citizens’ initiative process in California is in need of major changes, minor changes, or that it is basically fine the way it is?

33% major changes
48% minor changes
15% fine the way it is
4% don’t know

74. [likely voters only] Overall, how much would you say that the initiative process in California today is controlled by special interests—a lot, some, or not at all?

56% a lot
39% some
2% not at all
3% don’t know

75. [likely voters only] Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with the following statement: The ballot wording for citizens’ initiatives is often too complicated and confusing for voters to understand what happens if the initiative passes.

45% strongly agree
46% somewhat agree
6% somewhat disagree
2% strongly disagree
2% don’t know

76. [likely voters only] Reforms have been suggested to address issues that arise in California’s initiative process. Would you favor or oppose having an independent citizens’ initiative commission that would hold public hearings on initiatives and then make ballot recommendations in the official voter guide?

77% favor
20% oppose
3% don’t know

On another topic,

77. As you may know, the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade established a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion. Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, or not?

25% yes, overturn Roe versus Wade
72% no, not overturn Roe versus Wade
3% don’t know

Changing topics,

78. As you may know, Joe Biden has nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. From what you have seen and heard so far, do you think the U.S. Senate should or should not confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court?*

50% should confirm/should have confirmed
19% should not confirm/should not have confirmed
29% have not heard enough to have an opinion (volunteered)
1% don’t know

*Note: Language updated to “As you may know, the Senate voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. From what you have seen and heard so far, do you think the U.S. Senate should or should not have confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court?” on April 8, 2022.

Next,

79. How much, if at all, has your life been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak?

32% a lot
40% some
21% just a little
7% not at all
– don’t know

80. How worried, if at all, are you that you or someone in your family will get sick from the coronavirus? Are you…

21% very worried
37% somewhat worried
27% not too worried
14% not at all worried
– don’t know

81. Do you feel that worry or stress related to coronavirus has had a negative impact on your mental health, or not? (If yes, ask: “Was that a major impact or a minor impact?”)

16% yes, major impact
24% yes, minor impact
2% yes, don’t know (volunteered)
57% no
1% don’t know

81a. Have you personally received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or not?

83% yes
17% no [skip to q82]
– don’t know [skip to q82]

81b. How many COVID-19 vaccine doses have you received, including any booster doses? Have you received 1, 2, or 3 shots?

3% one
27% two
70% three
– don’t know

82. Next, some people are registered to vote and others are not. Are you absolutely certain that you are registered to vote in California?

86% yes [ask q82a]
14% no [skip to q82b]

82a. Are you registered as a Democrat, a Republican, another party, or are you registered as a decline-to-state or independent voter?

46% Democrat [ask q83]
25% Republican [ask q83a]
3% another party (specify) [skip to q84]
26% decline-to-state/independent [skip to 83b]

[likely voters only]
47% Democrat [ask q83]
27% Republican [ask q83a]
2% another party (specify) [skip to q84]
24% decline-to-state/independent [skip to 83b]

83. Would you call yourself a strong Democrat or not a very strong Democrat?

59% strong
41% not very strong
– don’t know

[skip to q84]

83a. Would you call yourself a strong Republican or not a very strong Republican?

56% strong
44% not very strong
– don’t know

[skip to q84]

 83b. Do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican Party or Democratic Party?

37% Republican Party
59% Democratic Party
3% neither (volunteered)
– don’t know

84. Next, would you consider yourself to be politically: [read list, rotate order top to bottom]

11% very liberal
23% somewhat liberal
38% middle-of-the-road
20% somewhat conservative
9% very conservative
1% don’t know

85. Generally speaking, how much interest would you say you have in politics—a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or none?

21% great deal
39% fair amount
30% only a little
11% none
– don’t know

[d1–d15 demographic questions]

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