Supporters of Race to the Top Outnumber Opponents, but Plurality of Public Has No Opinion, Education Next Survey Shows

According to the 4th annual survey conducted by Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance and Education Next, which will be released on Wednesday, a larger percentage of the public supports Race to the Top (RttT) than opposes it.  Thirty-two percent say they are in favor, while only 22 percent are opposed.  But the largest portion of the public—no less than 46 percent—say they have no opinion on the matter.

The survey of a nationally representative sample of adult Americans–and a separate nationally representative sample of teachers–asked respondents whether they thought President Obama’s RttT was “necessary to improve school quality” or whether they thought it an “unwarranted intrusion into state and local government.”  Support for RttT was high among African Americans and Hispanics who backed it by a margin of 48 percent to 12 percent, with the rest having no opinion.

Meanwhile, teachers oppose RttT by a 2:1 margin, with only 22 percent saying they like the idea, while 46 percent see it as an “unwarranted intrusion into state and local government.”

On August 24, the Obama Administration is releasing results from the second round of its Race to the Top (RttT) initiative, which invites states to compete for over four billion federal dollars.  In the first round, two states—Delaware and Tennessee—won RttT awards.  The competition has provoked praise in many quarters but strong criticism from teachers unions.

The Education Next survey reports public opinion on many other education issues including merit pay, charter schools, school vouchers, testing and accountability, and support for increased education spending. The full poll results will be released on the Education Next website on Wednesday.

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