September 17, 1997 - By 3-1 Margin, New Jersey Voters Back Supreme Court Call For $246 Million In New School Spending, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds
By a 69 - 23 percent margin New Jersey voters approve of the State Supreme Court decision ordering the state to spend an extra $246 million on public schools in New Jersey's 28 poorest school districts, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

Asked how much this added state spending would improve education in the state's poorest districts, 17 percent say "a lot," while 40 percent say "some;" 29 percent say "only a little," and 11 percent say "not at all."

Asked to name the most important problem facing New Jersey schools, 18 percent of voters point to budget or funding, while 13 percent list teacher quality and 11 percent name crime or drugs or guns.

"Voters tell the Quinnipiac College Poll that the State Supreme Court was right in ordering Trenton to spend more money to help poor school districts. By a smaller majority, voters feel the spending will help," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute.

"This willingness to dig into their own pockets to spend money for poorer districts comes from voters who are pretty satisfied with the quality of their own local schools."

A total of 69 percent say their local public schools are "very good" or "good," while 19 percent say they are "fair" and 9 percent say their are "poor" or "very poor."

Looking at schools statewide, 49 percent say their are "very good" or "good," while 31 percent say they are "fair," and 14 percent say they are "poor" or "very poor."

By a 79 - 15 percent margin, voters approve of the state setting standards for what every student should learn. A total of 69 percent say state standards will improve education in all New Jersey districts "a lot" or "some," while 28 percent say "only a little" or "not at all."

Looking at the impact on education in poorer districts, 59 percent say state standards will improve education "a lot" or "some," while 38 percent say "only a little" or "not at all."

"Overall, New Jersey voters think development of state standards for education will improve the quality of public schools. They're slightly less confident that there will be an improvement in the poorer districts, whose problems prompted the move to standards," Carroll said.

Quinnipiac College surveyed 865 New Jersey residents who say they are registered voters. The poll was conducted September 8 -13, with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent.

The Quinnipiac College Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

30. How would you rate the quality of New Jersey's public schools? Very good, good, fair, poor, or very poor?

                                                                         Apr 3
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1996


Very good 15% 18% 12% 13% 14% 16% 10%

Good 34 37 28 38 32 36 39

Fair 31 26 36 30 35 28 32

Poor 9 8 12 8 7 10 8

Very poor 5 3 5 5 6 3 3

DK/NA 7 8 6 6 6 8 8



31. What do you think is the most important problem facing the New Jersey public schools today?
                                                                         
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     


Crime/Drugs/Guns 11% 12% 11% 10% 10% 11% Student Conduct/ Discipline 6 7 5 7 6 7 Lack of parental involvement/support 4 6 3 3 4 3 Teacher quality (apathy, too old, tenure) 13 14 8 14 15 11 More teachers/ Teacher support 3 2 4 2 2 3 Teacher salaries too low 1 1 2 1 1 1 Teacher Unions 1 1 - 1 1 1 Quality of education/curriculum 9 10 5 10 9 8 More support for special needs 1 1 - - - 1 Maintaining standards 1 - 1 1 1 - More time in school - - - - 1 - Inequality of education/funding 4 3 5 4 4 3 Board of Education/ BOE - - - 1 1 - Administration/ Management/ Principles 2 1 1 3 2 2 Budget/Funding 18 14 24 17 19 16 Inadequate resources/Supplies/ Buildings 2 1 2 1 2 2 Overcrowded classrooms 9 8 12 7 7 10 OTHER 7 7 5 8 8 7 DK/NA 10 11 9 9 8 11



32. How would you rate the quality of the public schools in New Jersey's poorest communities? Very good, good, fair, poor, or very poor?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Very good 2% 3% 1% 2% 2% 2%

Good 9 10 7 8 8 9

Fair 21 21 18 22 20 22

Poor 33 35 39 31 33 33

Very poor 21 17 24 22 24 18

DK/NA 14 14 10 15 12 16



33. How would you rate the quality of the public schools in your community? Very good, good, fair, poor, or very poor?

                                                                         Apr 3
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     1996


Very good 32% 39% 29% 30% 31% 33% 35%

Good 37 36 35 41 39 37 31

Fair 19 17 23 18 19 19 20

Poor 6 4 9 7 7 6 6

Very poor 3 2 3 3 4 2 4

DK/NA 2 2 1 1 1 3 4



34. Do you have any children under the age of 18?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Yes 37% 37% 34% 36% 36% 37%

No 63 63 66 64 64 63

DK/NA - - - - - -



35. Do you have children who attend public school?

                          Among those who have children under  18


Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom

Yes 70% 61% 68% 78% 71% 70%

No 30 39 32 22 29 30



36. How much, if at all, are you worried about threats to the physical safety of your child when they're at school? Very worried, somewhat worried, not very worried, or not worried at all?
                                                                 
                          Have   Have kids in
                          kids   public schools


Very worried 9% 7%

Smwht worried 26 30

Not very worried 23 25

Not worried at all 39 37

DK/NA 3 -



37. A central part of Christine Whitman's education policy is for the state government to set standards for what every student in New Jersey should learn. How much have you heard or read about the state setting education standards - A lot, some, only a little, or nothing at all?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom
 
A lot                     15%     10%     17%     16%     14%     15%


Some 34 36 28 36 31 36

Only a little 32 33 31 31 35 29

Nothing at all 19 20 24 17 20 19

DK/NA - - - - - 1



38. Do you approve or disapprove of the state setting education standards for what every student in New Jersey should learn?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom
  
Approve                   79%     79%     79%     82%     79%     80%


Disapprove 15 16 14 14 17 14

DK/NA 5 5 7 4 4 6



39. How much do you think state education standards will improve the quality of New Jersey's public schools - a lot, some, only a little, or not at all?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


A lot 22% 26% 19% 19% 21% 22%

Some 47 42 52 50 44 50

Only a little 19 21 15 20 21 18

Not at all 9 7 6 10 12 6

DK/NA 3 3 7 1 2 4



40. How much do you think state education standards will improve the quality of the public schools in poorer communities - A lot, some, only a little, or not at all?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


A lot 23% 24% 21% 24% 22% 23%

Some 36 40 33 35 34 38

Only a little 24 21 26 25 24 23

Not at all 14 12 14 12 16 11

DK/NA 4 4 6 3 3 4



41. How about in your community - A lot, some, only a little, or not at all?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


A lot 18% 18% 19% 18% 18% 19%

Some 42 45 41 41 43 41

Only a little 22 19 23 23 22 21

Not at all 14 12 13 15 15 13

DK/NA 4 6 3 3 2 5



42. The State Supreme Court has recently ordered the state to spend an additional 246 million dollars on the public schools in New Jersey's 28 poorest districts, so that all New Jersey children receive a good education. How much have you heard or read about this decision? A lot, some, only a little, or nothing at all?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


A lot 13% 11% 14% 15% 17% 10%

Some 29 29 31 27 29 29

Only a little 29 28 24 31 26 31

Nothing at all 29 31 30 27 28 30

DK/NA - - - - - -



43. In general, do you approve or disapprove of this decision?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom


Approve 69% 63% 81% 68% 66% 72%

Disapprove 23 29 12 24 27 20

DK/NA 8 8 6 8 7 9



44. How much do you think this additional state spending will improve the quality of education in New Jersey's 28 poorest school districts - A lot, some, only a little, or not at all?
                                                                     
                          Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom
    
A lot                     17%     14%     25%     15%     16%     18%


Some 40 37 43 41 38 41

Only a little 29 33 25 29 29 28

Not at all 11 10 5 11 13 8

DK/NA 4 6 3 4 3 5