The 2016 Louisiana Survey: Public Supports Charters and District Grades, but Skeptical of Vouchers and Common Core


In the news:

The Advocate- LSU survey shows charter schools popular, vouchers less so

Baton Rouge Business Report- Survey shows mixed, paradoxical attitudes toward public education, school reform


BATON ROUGE – Results from the 2016 Louisiana Survey show that Louisiana residents have a mixed view of recent school reforms in the state, supporting charter schools and state-issued letter grades to school districts but remaining skeptical of vouchers and the Common Core. The Louisiana Survey is an annual project of the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs at LSU’s Manship School for Mass Communication to identify the opinions of Louisiana residents and share those opinions with state law makers.


In the past eight years, state lawmakers and the Louisiana Department of Education have ushered in a number of school reforms: Increasing the number of charter schools; launching a voucher program for students in poorly performing public schools; issuing letter grades to school and districts based, in part, on students’ standardized test scores; and adopting, then reviewing, the Common Core State Standards. The governor and lawmakers have indicated they would like to revisit several of these policies.


About two-thirds of Louisiana residents (68 percent) favor increasing the number of charter schools in the state. In contrast, the public is divided on another form of school choice: 48 percent favor providing vouchers to students in struggling public schools so they can attend private schools, but about the same share (46 percent) oppose vouchers.


As a state review committee prepares to make recommendations about which elements of the Common Core Louisiana should retain, revise, or eliminate, public support for the standards continues to fall – from 39 percent last year to 34 percent this year. However, the concept of academic standards shared across the states remains popular when stripped of the label “Common Core.” A majority of Louisiana residents (57 percent) support the standards when they are not labelled as “Common Core”.


Close to half of state residents say there is too much emphasis on testing in their local public schools (46 percent). Even so, most favor the idea of using test scores to issue letter grades to public school districts (55 percent). There is little evidence that people actually use these state-issued grades. Just one in ten (11 percent) could correctly identify the grade issued to their district.


About the Louisiana Survey


Since 2003, the Louisiana Survey has tracked public opinion about contemporary issues and challenges facing the state as well as trends in evaluations of the state’s economic, social, and political affairs.


The 2016 Louisiana Survey was administered over the telephone from February 1st to February 26th to both landline and cell phone respondents. The project includes a representative sample of 1,001 adult Louisiana residents. The total sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.


This is the fourth in a series of releases about findings from the 2016 Louisiana Survey.


A copy of the report is are available at

Louisiana Survey 2016 – Report Four



Michael Henderson
Public Policy Research Lab