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Virginia Journal of Education


NewsFronts



Virginia’s Citizens Back
Education Funding in Annual VCU Poll

RICHMOND—In the face of budget cuts being endured by public schools around Virginia, citizens of the state have expressed strong support for education funding in the 2008-09 Commonwealth Education Poll conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University. In fact, 68 percent of those surveyed said that they’re willing to pay higher taxes in order to protect the level of funding for K-12 schools.

Support for spending in other areas was not as strong. For transportation, 48 percent were willing to pay higher taxes to meet current needs, while 46 percent were not. For higher education; 46 percent would pay more taxes and 49 percent would not; for prisons, 24 percent would pay higher taxes and 68 percent would not. Virginians also said they’d pay more taxes to support funding levels for mental health services (62 percent) and aid to low-income families (61 percent).

Other highlights in the ninth annual poll:

• The public believes that money for schools is very important. Seventy percent of Virginians say that the amount of money spent on schools has a major impact on the quality of education, and about the same amount (71 percent) say that if the state cuts funding for education, it will bring significant changes to their local schools.

• The idea of going to a four-day school week is not popular. Eighty percent of respondents were against a four-day week if it meant a reduction in instructional time; 54 percent opposed it even if the amount of instructional time was unaffected.

• The public supports smaller class sizes in general, but can handle slight increases. Seventy percent say that, in general, adding students to a class hurts the quality of the education the class receives. However, two-thirds say that this isn’t necessarily true if class sizes only grow by one student.

• Virginians are not of one mind on math and science education. Forty-three percent say that the current emphasis given to math and science is about right; a third believes that it’s not enough.

• A majority of respondents is against single-sex schooling. Two-thirds of Virginians say they oppose or strongly oppose public schools for girls only; just about the same proportion (65 percent) say they’re against public schools just for boys.

For the full report, or to see results from past polls, go to the Commonwealth Educational Policy Institute website at www.cepionline.org.



‘Get Game Smart’ Aims
for Media Balance

REDMOND, WA—Today’s children are spending more and more time browsing the Web, playing video games and watching television and, since that’s not going to change anytime soon, the Microsoft Corporation has developed the “Get Game Smart” initiative to help young people develop healthy media habits. The campaign is designed to help families and educators teach safe, balanced methods of media use.

The campaign’s website, (www.GetGameSmart.com), collects useful resources, advice and parental control tools in one place, and has sections for both young people and their caregivers.


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