The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

Tennessee K-12 and School Choice Survey

Released: 6/5/2012

Author(s): Paul DiPerna

The “Tennessee K-12 & School Choice Survey” project, commissioned by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and conducted by Braun Research Inc. (BRI), measures Tennessee registered voters’ familiarity and views on a range of K-12 education topics and school choice reforms. We report response levels and differences (using the term “net score” or “net”) of voter opinion, and the intensity of responses.

Where do Tennesseans stand on important issues and policy proposals in K-12 education? We try to provide some observations and insights in this paper.

A randomly selected and statistically representative sample of Tennessee voters recently responded to 17 substantive questions and 11 demographic questions (see pages 49 – 76). The next section summarizes our key findings.

A total of 606 telephone interviews were conducted in English from February 11 to 21, 2012, by means of both landline and cell phone. Statistical results were weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies. The margin of sampling error for the statewide sample is ± 4.0 percentage points.

In this project we included five split-sample experiments. A split-sample design is a systematic way of comparing the effects of two or more alternative wordings for a given question. The purpose is to see if particular wording, or providing a new piece of information, can significantly influence opinion on a given topic. For this survey, we were particularly interested in how wording can affect responses to questions on taxes, education spending, and digital learning—all salient issues in Tennessee state politics and policy discussions.

Our polling paper has four sections. The first section summarizes key findings. We call the second section “Survey Snapshots,” which offers charts highlighting the core findings of the project. The third section describes the survey’s methodology, summarizes response statistics, and presents additional technical information on call dispositions for landline and cell phone interviews. The fourth section presents our questionnaire and results (“topline numbers”), essentially allowing the reader to follow the actual interview as it was conducted, with respect to question wording and ordering. We set out to give a straight-forward analysis, going easy on editorial commentary, and letting the numbers and charts communicate the major findings.


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