On December 4th through 8th, 2020, we asked Oregonians about the schools in their area and what they thought going to school should look like in January of 2021. Some of the questions we asked participants included how they thought their local schools were performing during the pandemic, whether students should attend schools online, in person, or a combination of both, as well as whether they would be in favor of special funding for schools to support children who may have fallen behind during the pandemic. Findings will include citation of the relevant question, which can be referenced in the annotated questionnaire and tabs at the bottom of the page.
Perception of School Performance, So Far
- Statewide, 50% of Oregonians approve (14% strongly, 36% somewhat) of the job that schools in the area where they live have done in educating students during the pandemic. (Q3)
- When compared to people who do not have school-aged children living in their home, people with children are more likely to approve (60%) as well as to disapprove (31%) of the how well the schools in their area have been doing. Only 9% are unsure. In contrast, 46% of people who do not have school-aged children in their home approve of schools in their area, 28% disapprove, and 26% are uncertain. (Q3)
Uncertainty About the New Year
- There is not a strong consensus on how schools should proceed in January of 2021. When asked about elementary schools, 22% of Oregonians are in favor of in-person instruction five days per week, 34% favor online instruction five days per week, 29% prefer a mix of in-person and online instruction, and 16% are unsure. The Tri-County area had the lowest preference for in-person instruction five days per week (11%) and the highest preference for online instruction five days per week (42%). (Q1)
- There is very little difference in preferred instruction method for elementary schools compared to middle and high schools. Just as with elementary schools, 22% of Oregonians favor in-person instruction five days per week, but 32% favor online instruction, 32% favor a mix, and 14% are unsure. (Q2)
Supporting Students Who Have Fallen Behind
- There is widespread popular support (69%) for increasing state funding for local school districts to be used for programs helping students who have fallen behind during the pandemic. 36% of Oregonians strongly support this idea and 33% somewhat support it, while only 18% oppose (strongly – 10%, or somewhat – 8%). (Q4)
The research was completed as a community service by DHM Research in partnership with the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center. Both organizations are independent and non-partisan. DHM Research is a Certified B Corporation (www.dhmresearch.com) and OVBC is an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation (www.oregonvbc.org).
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Analysis and Reporting by: Ari Wubbold