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Poll shows Floridians united on strong public schools

Party affiliation appears to matter little when it comes to supporting our students

TALLAHASSEE — The challenges facing Florida’s public schools this fall are acute — a pandemic that continues to create disruption and tragedy on campuses and in communities, a shortage of nearly 9,000 teachers and education support staff as the school year started. But despite those challenges and divisive controversies playing out in our districts, a new poll shows that likely voters of both major political parties are united in their support for Florida’s students, educators and public schools.

“The poll makes it clear. Ensuring strong public schools is a non-partisan issue. Whether they’re Republican, Democrat or other, a majority of Floridians want to support educators with fair salaries so they don’t seek employment elsewhere,” said Florida Education Association (FEA) President Andrew Spar. “They want to ensure that schools have highly qualified and certified teachers and support educators’ priorities for making schools stronger — promoting teacher-led assessments over standardized tests, reducing class sizes, allowing qualified teachers to earn long-term contracts so that the best educators will stay in our schools.”

The FEA poll was conducted Aug. 11-19. Using a national survey research center, Clearview Research conducted interviews with two samples: one of 800 likely Florida voters balanced by statewide party demographics, and one of 1,000 likely Republican Florida voters balanced by statewide Republican demographics. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percent.

Respondents were asked to report how important and favorable or unfavorable they found the FEA’s priorities for public education, and a large majority agreed these messages were important and favorable, even across party lines.

Among the concepts that resonated across all demographics:

For additional results, please download a summary of the poll findings.

“As we talk with lawmakers about our priorities for Florida’s public schools, students and employees, we know the public is with us,” said FEA President Spar. “A majority of Floridians want our public schools to be supported to be the strongest in the nation.”

During the 2022 legislative session, the FEA, local unions and our members will call on lawmakers to:

  • Expand the financial investments in our schools and allocate sufficient funds to fairly compensate all school employees.
  • Ensure that students and educators are kept safe and learning progress continues as we recover from the pandemic.
  • Help address our educator shortage by allowing qualified, experienced teachers to earn multi-year contracts.
  • Prioritize teacher-led assessments and learning over mandated standardized tests.
  • Respect the rights of people to make decisions locally.
  • Protect academic freedom at our state colleges and universities.

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