cn|2 Poll: Kentuckians want dropout age raised to 18, favor charter schools

03/02/2011 06:24 PM

An overwhelming majority of Kentuckians surveyed in the latest statewide cn|2 Poll said they want the legislature to raise the student dropout age from 16 to 18.

More than three-quarters of the 804 respondents said they favored raising the dropout age. About 20% said they disapproved of the proposal.

The House overwhelmingly passed the bill that would raise the age to 17 for the freshmen of 2015 and to 18 in time for the freshman entering high school in 2016. It is now pending in the Senate.

The cn|2 Poll was conducted Feb. 28 and March 1 by live interviewers from Braun Research of New Jersey. Interviewers contacted likely voters in the 2011 election — those who voted in both gubernatorial elections of 2003 and 2007, as well as younger voters under 24 who said they planned to vote this fall.

Click here to read the details and cross-tabulations of the poll results for legislative issues:

statewide legislative issues 3-2.pdf [881.07KB]

The dropout bill that passed the House won wide bipartisan support, partly because it included a provision aimed at encouraging the improvement and oversight of alternative programs.

Those are online or community college-based programs specifically tailored to students who might be struggling in the traditional classroom settings and are more at risk of dropping out.

In total, nearly 81% of respondents said they approved of the dropout bill that included an emphasis on alternative programs.

A slim majority of Kentuckians surveyed in the cn|2 Poll said they preferred allowing charter schools. The poll also surveyed the respondents’ opinions on whether to allow charter schools in Kentucky.

Several Republican lawmakers have filed bills in both the Senate and the House to create charter schools, which would be public schools that would be exempt from certain state education guidelines.

Supporters say charter schools can use more innovative teaching methods that can help students who are struggling in regular schools. Opponents have said they worry it might take away from public schools.

A majority of respondents — about 54% — said they favor allowing charter schools. Of those, 31% said they strongly favor allowing them and 23% said they somewhat favor them.

Another 15% said they somewhat oppose it and 20% say they strongly oppose it for a total of 35%.

Twelve percent said they were unsure.

- Ryan Alessi


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