logo-cropped

Pinsonat: Teachers Wasted $ On Unions; Louisiana Jobs Big Issue
  // Tuesday, 27 March 2012 15:02 //

legislature jvlastnews thumb Recently, Bernie Pinsonat of Southern Media & Opinion Research (SMOR) released a poll financed by conservative Baton Rouge businessman, Lane Grigsby.  That poll is below.

The poll focused upon issues being discussed during the legislative session as well as the poll ratings of the state’s statewide elected officials.

Bayoubuzz asked Pinsonat the following questions regarding the findings of that poll.

 

The questions and Pinsonat’s responses are below.  In this Part I of a two part series the focus of the interview is on the current legislative session, teachers, unions jobs and other issues.  Tomorrow's segment focuses upon the popularity of two major Louisiana statewide elected officials. 

.Of all of the results from the latest SMOR poll, of which were you most surprised?  Which did not surprise you at all?

I was surprised by the high number of voters in Louisiana who think jobs should be the number one priority of the governor and legislature. Education reform has come and gone many times in the last thirty years. I seriously doubt many voters think these reforms will all of a sudden cause inner city schools to make significant progress in graduation rates. Besides most voters in this survey think parents and students are more to blame than teachers! The lack of jobs is a big number in this survey and the governor and legislature had better get this number down before the next election.

What lessons from the SMOR poll should the Louisiana legislature heed the most?

I do not think it is the legislature that has any lessons to learn – it is the teachers that need to learn from this session and this survey. This survey is not all bad news for teachers. The bad news for teachers is this; the money they spend for union representation was recently wasted! Unions may help them at the local level on job issues – but when it comes to being an effective lobbying force for teachers in the legislature – it aint happening! The unions had months to prepare for this confrontation with Governor Jindal and his tenure legislation. The bad PR the teachers received in the last two weeks was utterly amazing! There was no unified voice and certainly no specific message that emerged from their day at the capitol. No meaningful stats were offered to refute the governor’s claims. We are against this legislation is not enough – especially when any and every poll shows voters want changes. Nothing happened during the last two weeks that slowed down Governor Jindal’s reform legislation. Most of us thought this was a tough undertaking for Governor Jindal; to date this has been a cake walk. This tid bit ought to get teacher’s attention – legislators are catching heat back home about retirement reform, not education reform! What is that old saying? This just about says it all!


DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THIS COLUMN?  LOGIN WITH FACEBOOK AND TELL US BELOW HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THESE ISSUES. YOUR COMMENTS WILL APPEAR ON YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE.  ALSO, IF YOU LIKE THIS COLUMN,  PLEASE HIT THE RECOMMEND BUTTON BELOW AND/OR USE THE SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTONS.  THANK YOU.


Join Our Email List
Email:  

 Photo: Bernie Pinsonat

 pinsonat

La. Education, Jobs Remain Priorities in Latest SMOR Survey


BATON ROUGE, La. – As state lawmakers begin their 2012 session, Louisiana voters' top priorities remain education and jobs, according to Southern Media & Opinion Research Inc.'s latest statewide voter survey.

When asked the main issue that Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers should address, 32 percent of respondents said education, while 30 percent said jobs and economic development. Education topped the previous SMOR survey conducted in December.

Most respondents also blamed a looming state budget deficit on too much spending, while one third said Louisiana does not have enough revenue. In order to balance the budget, respondents are opposed to increasing the state income tax, sales tax or business taxes.

Developed and conducted by Southern Opinion & Media Research, the poll included telephone interviews with 600 randomly selected Louisiana voters Feb. 29-March 5. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points at a 95 percent level of confidence.

Among the poll's other findings:

  • While most respondents favored tenure for public school teachers, 82 percent said the tenure system should be changed from permanent tenure to periodic renewals based on performance.
  • 72 percent agreed with the state's recently adopted teacher evaluation program in which half of teachers' annual evaluation is based on student progress.
  • 56 percent said public-school tax money should follow students to whatever type of school their parents choose. Respondents were evenly divided on support for public school vouchers, while 54 percent said they support charter schools.
  • 82 percent said private schools that accept public money in the form of vouchers or scholarships should be held to some kind of accountability standards.
  • While 55 percent opposed abolishing state retirement systems, 50 percent favored changes that would lower the state's $18 billion debt these systems pose to the state. Fifty-eight percent favored a 3 percent increase in state workers' contributions to the retirement system. But respondents are opposed to the idea if the increase went to the Legislature's general fund. Also, 56 percent favored increasing the retirement age for state workers to 67.
  • 63 percent favored requiring lawmakers to wait two years after leaving the Legislature before taking a job with state government.
  • President Barack Obama's job approval rating was 39 percent.


This survey was funded by Lane Grigsby in an effort to share the thoughts of the electorate with Louisiana elected officials. Grigsby has committed to underwriting a Louisiana voter survey biannually. For more information and to view the complete survey results, visit www.laplaintalk.com.

###


 

Southern Media & Opinion Research
Spring 2012 Survey Analysis


Education major concern
In the Spring 2012 survey, 32 percent of respondents named education as the main problem, while jobs and economic development was a close second at 30 percent. Gov. Bobby Jindal has made education his No. 1 priority for this year's legislative session, and his reform efforts are garnering headlines.

Jindal's popularity, lingering problems
Gov. Jindal remains popular with a positive job rating of 61 percent. But respondents do not see much progress on several of the state's long-standing problems – public K-12 education, higher education highways and roads, public health care, job opportunities and management of state government. With each of those topics, less than half said they see "a lot" or "some" progress being made.

Public school quality
Respondents continued to express dissatisfaction with the state's public K-12 education system. Nearly 58 percent said they've seen little or no progress over the past four years. When asked to assign a letter for public education statewide, 75 percent gave it a C or lower, though respondents did give slightly better grades to their own local schools. Asked about the quality of education statewide, 40 percent said it's staying the same, while a third said it's getting worse.

Teacher evaluation
Respondents overwhelmingly agreed with the state's recently adopted teacher evaluation program in which half of teachers' annual evaluation is based on student progress. Meanwhile, 82 percent said teacher tenure should be changed from permanent tenure to periodic renewals based on performance. About a third of Louisiana voters said there are "a lot" of underperforming teachers in Louisiana. Teachers didn't get all of the blame for poor student performance in Louisiana. When asked who is most responsible for students' classroom performance, the most frequent answer at 46 percent was students' parents.

School taxes following students
Fifty-six percent of survey respondents said public-school tax money should follow students to whatever type of school their parents chose. But the issue of public-school money leaving the public schools system is controversial. Eighty-two percent of respondents said private schools that accept public money in the form of scholarship or vouchers should be held to some type of accountability standard. Eighty-six percent supported public schools. Charter schools were supported by 54 percent with 30 percent opposed to them. Respondents were virtually evenly divided on the issue of vouchers and whether families of private-school students should get tax deductions.

Spending vs. revenue
When asked about looming budgets deficits this year, 55 percent of respondents said state government spends too much money, compared to 33 percent who said Louisiana does not have enough revenue. Respondents were overwhelmingly opposed to balancing the budget by raising state taxes on income, sales or businesses.

State employees retirement system
Fifty percent of respondents favored making changes to state employee retirement systems to reduce the unfunded $18 billion liability they pose to that state. Fifty-eight percent said they were in favor of increasing the amount of money state workers pay into the retirement system from 8 percent to 11 percent if it would reduce the retirement system debt. Respondents opposed the increased contribution, however, if the increase went to the Legislature's general fund and not paying off retirement system debt. When asked if they favored abolishing state retirement systems and putting state workers under Social Security, 55 percent were opposed.

Legislature's revolving door
Sixty-three percent of respondents said they would favor a proposal that requires state lawmakers to wait two years after leaving the Legislature before taking a job with state government.

Senate, presidential elections
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu had a positive job-approval rating with 52 percent of respondents saying she was doing a "good" or "excellent" job. President Barack Obama's job approval rating was 39 percent. About 53 percent of respondents said they would definitely vote for someone other than President Obama in this fall's presidential election, while 32 percent would definitely vote to re-elect him. Even without knowing who the Republican nominee will be, 51 percent said they would vote for the GOP candidate over President Obama.

###

FREQUENCY RESPONSES—WEIGHTED BY SEX, RACE AND PARTY
SAMPLE SIZE (n=600)


3304—Spring Survey 2012
Final 2.27.12

Hello, this is (interviewer's name) calling for Southern Media and Opinion Research. We are calling Louisiana voters to get their opinions about conditions in the state and on the job being done by elected officials.


1.    Are you registered to vote in Louisiana?                        YES.......................100.0
       (If no, ask to speak with a registered voter.)              (NO/DNK/WS).......TERMINATE


2.    Do you think Louisiana is headed in the right                RIGHT DIRECTION............49.2
       direction or have we gotten off on the wrong                 WRONG TRACK.................38.2
       track?                                                                              (DNK/WS)...........................12.6


3.    Please tell me if you think the following elected officials are doing an excellent, good, not so good or poor job:

                                                                                                                        NOT                      (NOT FAMIL
                                                                           EXCELLENT    GOOD    SO GOOD    POOR    /DNK/WS)
   a.    President Barack Obama  ............................14.2  ............25.1  .........18.4  .........40.7  .........1.5
    b.    U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu  ........................10.5  ............41.6  .........20.5  .........20.6  .........6.7
    c.    U.S. Senator David Vitter  .............................7.0  ..............46.0  .........22.4  ........15.2  ..........9.4
    d.    Governor Bobby Jindal  ................................21.6  ............39.5  .........19.7  ........16.4  ..........2.8
    e.    Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne...............4.5  ..............43.9  ........13.7  ..........8.2  ..........29.8
    f.    State Treasurer John Kennedy  .....................8.9  ..............49.8  .........11.3  ..........4.7  ..........25.3
    g.    Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain  .....10.9  ............47.1  .........9.9  ...........3.6  ..........28.6


4.     What in your opinion is the main problem Governor Jindal and the new state legislature need to work on?
    
   (TOP TEN RESPONSES)
   EDUCATION/SCHOOLS/SCHOOL FUNDING/HIGHER EDUCATION  .....................32.0
    JOBS/UNEMPLOYMENT/WAGES/STATE PAY  .........................................................21.5
    STATE BUDGET/MONEY/TAXES/DEBT  ...................................................................14.0
    DON'T KNOW/WON'T SAY  ........................................................................................10.4
    ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/ECONOMY/BUSINESS  .............................................8.3
    OTHER  ........................................................................................................................8.0
    HEALTH CARE/MEDICAL/STATE HOSPITALS  .........................................................6.8
    HIGHWAYS/ROADS/INFRASTRUCTURE  .................................................................5.0
    RETIREMENT SYSTEM/TAKING FROM STATE WORKERS  ...................................2.9
    GET GULF BACK IN OPERATION/OFFSHORE DRILLING/OIL BUSINESS  ............2.4
    HELP THE POOR/MIDDLE CLASS  ...........................................................................2.4


5.    Over the past four years, do you think a lot, some, a little or no progress has been made in Louisiana on the following:
                                                                                 A                             A                    NO             (DNK
    (Randomize)                                                     LOT       SOME     LITTLE       PROGRESS       /WS)
   a.    public education grades K through 12  .......7.7  .......30.6  ........29.3  ..............28.5  ............3.9
    b.    highways and roads  ...................................12.0  .....27.6  .......30.9  ...............25.6  ............4.0
    c.    public health care  .......................................6.6  .......25.2  .......28.5  ...............32.6  ............7.1
    d.    job opportunities  ........................................10.2  ......35.3  .......28.1  ...............22.0  ............4.4
    e.    higher education  ........................................8.6  ........29.5  .......28.7  ...............27.8  ............5.3
    f.    management of state government  ..............11.0  ......29.4  .......28.7  ...............22.6  ............8.2


6.    Government leaders say the state is facing a                 TOO MUCH SPENDING  ........54.8
       financial crisis. Do you think state                                   NOT ENOUGH REVENUE  .....33.2
       government's financial problems are caused                  (DNK/WS)  ...............................12.0
       by too much spending or not enough revenue?


7.    In your opinion, do you think your state                          YES  .........................................23.1
       tax dollars are being spent wisely?                                 NO  ...........................................72.9
                                                                                               (DNK/WS)  ...............................4.0


8.    In order to balance the state budget, would you favor or oppose:
       (Randomize)                                                                   FAVOR    OPPOSE    (DNK/WS)
      a.    increasing the state income tax on middle and
              upper income people  ................................................28.9  .........66.4  ............4.7
       b.    increasing the state sales tax  ...................................20.5  .........75.0  ............4.6
       c.    increasing taxes on businesses  ................................31.8  .........60.9  ............7.3


9.    What grade would you give to public education              A  ..............................................3.4
       in Louisiana: A, B, C, D or F?                                          B  .............................................20.1
                                                                                                C  .............................................40.3
                                                                                                D  .............................................24.4
                                                                                                F  .............................................10.2
                                                                                                (DNK/WS)  ...............................1.6


10.    What grade would you give to public education            A   .............................................11.2
         in your parish: A, B, C, D or F?                                      B   .............................................31.7
                                                                                                C   .............................................26.8
                                                                                                D   .............................................16.1
                                                                                                F   .............................................11.8
                                                                                                (DNK/WS)   ...............................2.4


11.    Do you think the quality of education in                        GETTING BETTER  ...................23.2
         Louisiana's public schools is getting better,                  STAYING ABOUT THE SAME ...42.7
         staying about the same or getting worse?                    GETTING WORSE  ....................31.5
                                                                                               (DNK/WS)  ..................................2.6


12.    Do you think the quality of education in your                GETTING BETTER  ...................25.8
         local public schools is getting better, staying                STAYING ABOUT THE SAME  ..44.5
         about the same or getting worse?                                GETTING WORSE  ....................25.2
                                                                                               (DNK/WS)  ..................................4.5


13.    Who, in your opinion, is most responsible for               THE STUDENT  .........................16.2
         a student's classroom performance: the student,         CLASSROOM TEACHER  .........24.3
         the classroom teacher or the student's parents?          STUDENT'S PARENTS  ............46.4
                                                                                               (DNK/WS)  .................................13.1

14.    Right now in Louisiana, teachers are granted tenure for life after completing a three year probationary period during which they must pass an
         evaluation by local administrators. After receiving tenure, teachers can only be dismissed for incompetency, dishonesty,
         willful neglect of duty or immorality. In your
         opinion, should teacher tenure be granted for              GRANTED FOR LIFE  ...............11.2
         life or should a teacher's tenure be renewed                RENEWED PERIODICALLY  .....81.6
         periodically based on performance?                             (DNK/WS)  .................................7.2


15.    In your opinion, are there a lot, some, a few                 A LOT  ........................................34.0
         or no underperforming teachers in Louisiana                SOME  .......................................34.2
         public schools?                                                             A FEW  .......................................21.2
                                                                                               NONE  ........................................2.1
                                                                                               (DNK/WS)  ..................................8.5


16.    Do you think the public school teachers in your           BETTER  .....................................30.5
         parish are better, about the same or worse than          ABOUT THE SAME  ...................51.5
         other public school teachers in Louisiana?                  WORSE  ......................................7.6
                                                                                              (DNK/WS)  ...................................10.5


17.    Do you favor or oppose tenure which protects            FAVOR  ........................................54.0
         experienced teachers in your parish from being          OPPOSE  ....................................36.1
         fired unless they are proven to be incompetent,          (DNK/WS)  ...................................9.9
         dishonest, or negligent?


18.    In your opinion, should public school tax                      YES  ......................................56.0
         dollars dedicated to education follow the                     NO  ........................................35.4
         child to whichever type of school his or                       (DNK/WS)  .............................8.5
         her parents choose?


19.    Do you support or oppose:
         (Randomize)                                                                    SUPPORT    OPPOSE    (DNK/WS)
         a.    vouchers  .....................................................................43.0  ............42.9  ..........14.1
         b.    charter schools  ...........................................................54.1  ............29.9  ..........16.0
         c.    traditional public schools  ............................................86.0  ............11.2  ...........2.8
         d.    home schools  .............................................................52.0  ............40.5  ...........7.4
         e.    tax deductions for tuition paid for children to
                attend private schools  ................................................50.1  ............45.2  ...........4.8


20.    In your opinion, should private and parochial              YES  .....................................82.0
         schools that accept public school money in the           NO  ......................................13.6
         form of vouchers or scholarships be held to some      (DNK/WS)  ...........................4.3
         type of accountability standards for the
         performance of the students in their schools?


21.    The state recently adopted a new teacher evaluation program where half of a teacher's annual evaluation would be based on how much students
         have progressed while being taught by that
         teacher. Do you agree or disagree that                        AGREE  ...............................71.6
         student progress should be part of a                            DISAGREE  .........................23.3
         teacher's evaluation?                                                    (DNK/WS)  ...........................5.0


22.    In your opinion, do state workers make more,             MORE  ..................................18.9
         about the same or less than people working               ABOUT THE SAME  ..............24.3
         for private companies?                                                  LESS  ....................................43.9
                                                                                              (DNK/WS)  .............................12.8


23.    In your opinion, are retirement benefits for                   BETTER  ...............................38.5
         state workers better, about the same or worse             ABOUT THE SAME  .............29.1
         than retirement benefits for people working for            WORSE  ................................18.2
         private companies?                                                      (DNK/WS)  .............................14.2


24.    In your opinion, should the retirement pay for              HIGHER  ................................20.7
         state workers be higher, about the same or lower        ABOUT THE SAME  ..............65.1
         than what private sector workers receive from             LOWER  .................................5.0
         social security?                                                             (DNK/WS)  ..............................9.1


25.    In your opinion, should state worker retirement            SELF-FUNDED  .....................29.1
         systems be self-funded or should the state                  STATE CONTRIBUTE  ...........58.8
         contribute to those retirement funds?                           (DNK/WS)  .............................12.1


26.    Would you favor or oppose abolishing state                 FAVOR  ..................................35.5
         retirement systems and put all state employees           OPPOSE  ..............................55.2
         under Social Security?                                                  (DNK/WS)  .............................9.3


27.1  State government is currently responsible for paying state employees' retirement system fund debt. The amount of that debt is presently over $18
         billion. Would you
         favor or oppose making changes to the state                FAVOR  ..................................,50.4
         retirement system which would reduce the                     OPPOSE (SKIP TO Q27.3)  ...38.3
         state's liability for paying the debt?                                (DNK/WS) (SKIP TO Q27.3)  ..11.2


27.2  Would you favor making changes even if it                   YES  .......................................84.9
         meant state employees had to pay more into                 NO  ........................................12.1
         the retirement systems?                                                 (DNK/WS)  .............................3.0


27.3  At present, state employees can retire at age 55 if they have at least 20 years of service. Do you favor
         or oppose increasing the retirement age                        FAVOR  ..................................47.6
         from 55 to 67 for current employees who                       OPPOSE  ...............................47.3
         are younger than 55 years of age?                                 (DNK/WS)  .............................5.1


27.4  Do you favor or opposing setting the                              FAVOR  ..................................55.5
         retirement age at 67 for new hires?                                OPPOSE  ...............................40.5
                                                                                                 (DNK/WS)  ..............................4.0


27.5  A proposal has been made to increase the amount state workers contribute to their retirement fund from 8% of their paycheck to 11% and to
         decrease the amount of the state's current contribution to the retirement fund by the
         same amount. Would you favor or oppose                     FAVOR  ...................................58.2
         that proposal if it would reduce the                                 OPPOSE  ................................34.3
         retirement system debt?                                                 (DNK/WS)  ...............................7.5


27.6  Would you favor or oppose that proposal if                    FAVOR  ...................................39.7
         it would not reduce the retirement system                      OPPOSE  ................................50.0
         debt, but would release some state money                    (DNK/WS)  ...............................10.3
         for spending elsewhere?


27.7  Would you favor or oppose merging the state                FAVOR  ...................................54.4
         teacher's retirement system and the school                   OPPOSE  ................................34.2
         employees retirement system as a way to                       (DNK/WS)  ..............................11.4
         reduce cost?


28.    A bill has been introduced that would require                  FAVOR  ...................................63.4
         legislators who leave office to wait at least                      OPPOSE  ................................29.3
         two years before taking a job with state                          (DNK/WS)  ...............................7.3
         government. Do you favor or oppose that bill?


29.    Under present Louisiana law, a worker has the              SUPPORT  ...............................71.5
         right to choose whether or not he wants to                     OPPOSE  .................................22.6
         belong and pay dues to a union. Do you                         (DNK/WS)  ...............................5.9
         support or oppose that law?


30.    An election for President of the United States                VOTE TO RE-ELECT  ...............32.1
         will be held this year. If that election were                      CONSIDER SOMEONE ELSE  ..10.0
         held today, would you vote to re-elect                             DEFINITELY VOTE
         President Obama, would you consider voting                SOMEONE ELSE  ......................52.8
         for someone else or would you definitely                       (DNK/WS)  ..................................5.1
         vote for someone else?


31.    If the election for President were held today                      BARACK OBAMA  ..................33.2
         between Democrat Barack Obama and the Republican    REPUBLICAN NOMINEE  ......50.8
         nominee for President, for whom would you vote?            (UND/DNK/WS)  ......................16.0


32.    Do you favor or oppose the national health                       FAVOR  ....................................31.6
         care legislation that President Obama's                            OPPOSE  .................................60.6
         administration developed and that Congress                    (DNK/WS)  ................................7.8
         passed?


Demographics
33.    Are registered to vote as a Democrat,                            DEMOCRAT  ...............................55.2
         Republican or some other way?                                     REPUBLICAN  .............................31.0
                                                                                                 OTHER  .......................................13.9


34.    Regardless of how you are registered to vote,               DEMOCRATS  .............................32.3
         do you more often agree with the actions                       REPUBLICANS  ..........................48.3
         of Democrats or Republicans?                                        (NEITHER)  .................................11.4
                                                                                                  (DNK/WS)  ...................................8.0


35.    What is your age?  (Are you under 35,                            UNDER 35  ...................................7.1
         between 35 and 49, between 50 and 64;                        35 – 49  ........................................21.3
         or 65 or over?)                                                                 50 – 64  ........................................38.5
                                                                                                  65 OR OVER  ..............................33.1


36.    What is your race?                                                          WHITE  .........................................71.2
                                                                                                 AFRICAN AMERICAN  .................26.7
                                                                                                 OTHER  ........................................2.1


37.    Do you or anyone in your household:
                                                                                                          YES           NO          (DNK/WS)
        a.    belong to a labor union  ...................................................10.5  .........88.5  ............0.9
         b.    work as a public school teacher  .....................................13.6  ..........85.2  ...........1.2
         c.    work for local, state or the federal government  ...............21.7  .........77.3  ...........1.0


38.    (Record if respondent is male or female;                       MALE  ...........................................46.1
         Verify as necessary.)                                                      FEMALE  ......................................53.9


39.    In thinking about the total annual income                      OVER $100,000  ...........................19.8
         for all people in your household, would you                   UNDER $40,000  ..........................27.6
         say it is over $100,000, under $40,000 or                      SOMEWHERE IN-BETWEEN  .....43.9
         somewhere in-between?                                                (DNK/WS)  ....................................8.6

Media Sources

Metairie, Louisiana

Website: www.bayoubuzz.com

latter-blum2

Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1