February 12, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information Contact:
Brigitte Blom Ramsey, Executive Director
Kentucky Citizens Identify Jobs, K-12 Education as Top Priorities
Postsecondary Education Ranks Last
Lexington, KY – Jobs and K-12 education are the top priorities for Kentucky voters heading into the 2019 gubernatorial election cycle, according to poll results released by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
In a recent Mason-Dixon Poll, 62 percent of Kentuckians selected K-12 education and jobs above such issues as cutting state and local taxes and improving infrastructure. However, the lowest priority was postsecondary education, with only 6 percent of voters identifying that as a top priority.
“It is clear that Kentuckians want to move their state forward,” noted Brigitte Blom Ramsey, the committee’s executive director. “These poll results send a strong message to our elected leaders about the importance of improving K-12 educational outcomes for all students to make sure they are prepared for the workforce.”
“The low ranking of postsecondary education is concerning because of the critical need for Kentuckians to have education beyond high school to meet the demands of the modern workplace,” Ramsey said. Postsecondary education also has a positive impact on communities and overall quality of life. Kentucky’s postsecondary education attainment rate is 45 percent (which includes certificates, 2-year, and 4-year degrees); the Council on Postsecondary Education has set a goal of increasing the attainment rate to 60 percent by 2030.
Also of concern were the poll findings that 81 percent of Kentuckians believe the quality of their local public schools has stayed the same or worsened during the past few years, and 82 percent believe the quality of education across the state has stayed the same or declined.
The stagnation of educational progress felt by most Kentuckians highlights the need to improve the education system across the state. Communities must come together and support their local schools as they innovate and build better solutions. “Community collaboration and strong responses to key issues will help students succeed beyond their high school diploma,” Ramsey added.
The poll also showed that raising state taxes to support education has greater support than increasing local taxes; 47 percent favor raising state taxes to support K-12 education, while only 40 percent support increasing local taxes. These results may indicate a deeper equity issue that exists across the state, particularly highlighting local districts’ lack of ability to raise additional revenue.
About the Poll:
This poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida, from December 12 through December 15, 2018. A total of 625 registered Kentucky voters were interviewed statewide by telephone.
Those interviewed were randomly selected from a phone-matched Kentucky voter registration list that included both land-line and cell phone numbers. Quotas were assigned to reflect voter registration by county.
The margin for error, according to standards customarily used by statisticians, is no more than ±4 percentage points. This means that there is a 95 percent probability that the “true” figure would fall within that range if all voters were surveyed.
The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence is an independent, nonpartisan, citizen-led organization working to improve education in Kentucky – early childhood through postsecondary.