No matter where Michigan parents live, their race or political affiliation, or how much their family earns, they want a high-quality education for their children, and generally agree on what changes are needed to improve Michigan’s public schools. In fact, “improving the quality of education” ranks as the number one issue on the minds of Michigan parents – well above their concerns about roads, the economy or health care, according to a new poll commissioned by The Education Trust-Midwest.

Michigan parents also clearly understand the importance of effective teachers and high-quality instruction: 94 percent say having good teachers and instruction is important, including 77 percent who say it’s absolutely essential. This is a priority shared across party lines.

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Belief in the importance of effective teachers and high-quality instruction is shared across party lines.

Those findings are among the results of a public opinion survey, conducted by the firm EPIC/MRA, of 600 Michigan parents surveyed between Feb. 19 and March 1.

“The poll results show very clearly that addressing Michigan’s educational challenges is a top priority for Michigan parents,” according to Amber Arellano, executive director of the Education Trust-Midwest.

“Parents are essential partners in education improvement efforts,” Arellano said. “Yet so often, parent perspectives are not well heard or understood as these important decisions are being made. Not only did this poll help us understand of Michigan parent’s viewpoints – it also showed common ground among parents across the state.”

Other key findings include:

  • Parents support both transparent accountability and equitable school funding. Nearly two-thirds of all parents would support a proposal to make school funding more equitable, by providing additional funds for students with the greatest need. This is widely supported by families across income levels.There is also support across family income levels for investing more dollars in vulnerable students.

Similarly, 84 percent of all parents support the concept of holding schools accountable for student performance and improvement through an A through F grading system, so that parents have a clear understanding of how the school is doing. Support is high among parents of every race, but particularly high among African American parents.

  • Despite the stakes for student, more than half of Michigan parents are not familiar at all with the third-grade reading law set to take full effect in the upcoming school year.

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The telephone survey was conducted using landlines and cellphones from February 19 – March 1, 2019 of 600 Michigan parents with one or more children age 18 or younger living in the home, by EPIC-MRA. The results of the survey have a margin of error of +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level.

For other key findings of the report, visit: