Category Archives: Public Opinion Surveys

Be Careful with Survey Results, Especially About Education

Credit: iStock

by James C. Sherlock

I am a prolific reader and analyst of statistics about education. I find it constantly necessary to sort the wheat from the chaff. Chaff is the term I have chosen for this article, not the one I use in private.

The results of the latest Education Next Survey of Public Opinion (2022 poll) will appear endlessly in the press. EdNext has even graciously provided headline-ready assessments based on those results.

  • Partisan Rifts Widen, Perceptions of School Quality Decline
  • “Parental Anxieties over Student Learning Dissipate as Schools Relax Anti-Covid Measures”
  • “Hunger for Stability Quells Appetite for Change: Results of the 2021 Education Next Survey of Public Opinion”
  • “Parent Poll Reveals Support for School Covid-Safety Measures Despite Vaccine Hesitancy, Partisan Polarization”

Read the “Methodological notes” under “Notes” on the survey. Please also note that the links within those notes are both broken.

The parent sample includes oversamples of parents with at least one child in a charter school (305 respondents), parents with at least one child in a private school (310 respondents), Black parents (283 respondents), and Hispanic parents (429 respondents). The completion rate for this survey is 50%.” [Emphasis added.]

The judgments made from those data are breathtaking.

But are they justified by the data? Continue reading