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How good are your local schools?

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Barry Costa / University of Connecticut

Pretty good, according to a UConn Poll released May 5.

The survey of more than 1,000 adults found that 59 percent are happy with their local schools (17 percent say the education available is “excellent,” while 42 percent say it’s “good”), while 11 percent rate their local schools as poor.

That might come as welcome news to education professionals, especially given that today is the start of National Teacher Appreciation Week. The poll also found that a majority of Americans (55 percent) oppose the idea of making students’ performance on standardized tests a consideration when it comes to pay raises for teachers, and that 48 percent of Americans consider years of experience an important factor in evaluating teachers, compared to 16 percent who think experience isn’t important.

There’s lots more interesting data to be found in the poll, including an examination of how the public feels about the Common Core Standards Initiative, which you can download here (PDF).  If you want to look under the hood, you can find our survey instrument here (PDF) and the technical report here (PDF).

You can also find some expert perspective on Common Core from Casey Cobb, head of the department of educational leadership at UConn’s Neag School of Education, here (video).

UConn Poll: Americans who know about Common Core are likely to be skeptical of it

STORRS, Conn. – The more Americans know about the Common Core Standards Initiative, the less likely they are to think it will achieve its goal of improving nationwide education outcomes in reading, writing,  and math for K-12 students, according to a UConn Poll released Monday.

The survey found that just 39 percent of Americans have heard of the much-debated initiative, which includes 44 of 50 states, compared to 95 percent who’ve heard of No Child Left Behind, an earlier federal effort to improve education outcomes.

Download the full data set here (PDF).

Those who do know about Common Core, though, are generally skeptical of the initiative’s ability to boost the quality of American education. Just 33 percent believe adopting Common Core standards will increase the quality of education in their communities, compared to 27 percent who say it will have no effect and 30 percent who say it will actually be detrimental.


What’s your favorite thing to do on Black Friday?


If you’re like one fifth of Americans, the answer is: watch TV, especially football (it’s a big day for college rivalry games). A new UConn Poll measured what Americans like to do most on the year’s most popular unofficial holiday, and found:

* 20 percent say it’s TV and football

* 15 percent say relaxing and/or napping

* (tie) 14 percent say the best thing about Black Friday is eating leftovers or holiday shopping

* 12 percent say it’s spending time with family and friends

* 5 percent say it’s outdoor activities

* 3 percent say decorating for Christmas

* 1 percent of hearty Americans say it’s yard work

Incidentally, 4 percent of Americans (including the author of this post) say they have to work on Black Friday. For a complete data set, and a historical look at how thankful Americans feel right now in comparison to previous years, feel free to peruse this PDF.

UConn Poll: American thankfulness dips to ’70s-esque lows

About half of American adults say they’re more thankful this Thanksgiving than they were in previous years, according to a new UConn Poll. Only 6 percent say they’re less thankful, while 44 percent say they feel about the same.

While that may seem like the national mood is on a fairly even footing, it’s a stark contrast to what Americans have said on previous holidays, according to data archived at the University of Connecticut’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

Complete data set available here.

The Roper Center, an incomparable storehouse of public opinion data stretching back to the 1930s, has the results of previous surveys showing that Americans are typically much likelier to feel an increased sense of thankfulness than they’re expressing in 2013.


UConn Poll: 9 in 10 Americans say they won’t go shopping on Thanksgiving Day

STORRS, Conn. – Although more stores than ever are opening to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day this year, 9 out of 10 Americans say they don’t plan to spend the holiday hunting for bargains, according to a new UConn Poll released Monday.

Just 7 percent of adults say they plan to visit stores on Thanksgiving Day, which has begun to usurp Black Friday’s role as the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season as more stores open for business on Turkey Day.

What’s more, Americans are far likelier to disapprove of stores opening on the holiday than they are to approve of the decision by retailers to push the traditional Black Friday shopping frenzy a day earlier.


Few Americans are thankful for ‘Black Friday creep’

Sean Flynn / University of Connecticut

Sean Flynn / University of Connecticut

While the day after Thanksgiving has traditionally been known as the unofficial kickoff of the annual holiday shopping season, recently Turkey Day itself has seen a growing number of retailers opening their doors to shoppers. This year, a number of high-profile stores are opening as early as 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day in a bid to get an early start on the yearly spending frenzy.

By contrast, other retailers are holding firm on keeping the doors locked for Thanksgiving, some even taking out ads to highlight their stance and indirectly accuse their competitors of spoiling the holiday for their workers.

A new UConn Poll out today finds that most Americans are, at best, wary of adding shopping to other Thanksgiving traditions like watching football, eating too much, and politely tolerating relatives with political views they loathe beyond description.

Among the highlights of the poll, which measured the opinions of 1,189 adults, are:

* 90 percent say they aren’t going shopping on Thanksgiving

* 49 percent disapprove of stores opening on Thanksgiving Day (just 16 percent approve, while 34 percent are neutral)

* 46 percent think stores should wait until the morning of Black Friday to open

* 34 percent say they have a negative view of stores that open on Thanksgiving

There’s lots more interesting data in the full report, which can be viewed here (PDF).

As ‘Obamacare’ enrollment begins, most Americans have unfavorable view of healthcare law


STORRS, Conn. – As one of the most distinctive features of the so-called “Obamacare” law is set to begin Oct. 1, a UConn Poll released today finds most Americans disapprove of the landmark legislation formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

According to the national survey of 1,015 adults, more than half (53 percent) have an unfavorable opinion of the program, with 38 percent having a favorable impression and 9 percent remaining neutral.

Download the data here (PDF).