Tennesseans give high marks to Governor Bill Haslam, the Republican-led Legislature, and education reforms passed into law according to a recent poll commissioned by StudentsFirst, a non-profit organization advocating reforms in public education.
The group had a well-respected polling organization, Public Opinion Strategies, conduct the statewide poll to test voter attitudes about last year’s education reform agenda and attitudes about leadership in Tennessee. The firm has a long history of accuracy in Tennessee as it has extensive experience polling for many groups in the State.
The numbers reveal a public wanting serious education reform and an electorate that believes the Governor and General Assembly are taking the State in the right direction.
A brief overview of the numbers:
- 54% believe the State is headed in the right direction.
- 72% approve of Governor Haslam’s performance.
- 63% of the voters approve of the job of the Legislature.
- 53% believe public schools are off on the wrong track.
- 52% believe schools need “major change”.
Specifically, pollsters questioned voters about the reform agenda that passed in the last session of the General Assembly. Those numbers show similar approval ratings by voters:
- Tenure reform: Received a 75% positive rating.
- Evaluation Reform for Teachers: Received a 72% approval rating.
- Ending collective bargaining for unions in education: Received a 54% approval rating.
“These numbers are in line with the feedback our members have received in their home districts,” said Representative Debra Maggart (R—Hendersonville), who serves as the House Majority Caucus Chair. “It shows our agenda to promote student achievement and teacher excellence in Tennessee is resonating with voters who want our State’s public education system to finally start showing positive results. It’s time for us to partner with high performing teachers, reward them for their individual quality, and help them train students who are prepared to lead in a competitive economy.”
Representative John Forgety (R—Athens) said, “Obviously, voters think we are headed down the right path by placing higher standards and performance measures in our schools. Frankly, I believe we are laying the groundwork for some unprecedented future successes in Tennessee education with the reform agenda we have passed.”
“Ultimately, these reforms are going to help our job numbers in Tennessee,” said Representative Jim Gotto (R—Nashville). “Education is the silver bullet that can help all aspects of society: career opportunities, economic development, wealth enhancement, and more. We’re on the right track and I’m glad Tennesseans are with us.”
“Now is the time to take action because that is what Tennesseans want. I am proud we have dedicated leaders in the Legislature and a visionary like Governor Haslam to make these proposals become a reality for Tennessee,” concluded Representative Tim Wirgau (R—Buchanan).
The StudentsFirst poll was taken of 600 likely voters across Tennessee on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4%. StudentsFirst recently released the numbers. For additional information on StudentsFirst, you can go to the group's website by clicking here