Poll: Marylanders Say Don’t Expand Government Spending for Education

Sep 24, 2019

As a Kirwan Commission workgroup meets behind closed doors to raise government spending on education, the Maryland Public Policy Institute urges state lawmakers to heed public opinion surveys showing that voters are leery of new government spending on education.


A statewide survey conducted for the Institute, first published in 2018, revealed that a majority of democrats, republicans, and independents prefer reallocating existing state budgets to reward high-performing teachers rather than increasing the education budget. The Kirwan Commission has recommended $3.8 billion in new government spending annually, and is now considering how Marylanders should pay for their recommendations.


Key Findings from our 2018 Survey:


Marylanders Don’t Want a Bigger Education Budget:

Thirty-eight percent of Marylanders said increasing teacher pay is their first or second choice for improving education in Maryland, but not at the expense of expanding government spending. Instead, 72 percent of Marylanders say policymakers should focus on reallocating resources more efficiently and effectively, instead of increasing the education budget. That belief is shared among democrats (66 percent), independents (80 percent) and republicans (81 percent.) 


Don’t Expand Pre-K at the Expense of Other Services:

Marylanders said they were  open to expanding pre-K services, but decisively oppose expansion if it is paid for by cutting other government services or through tax increases. Seventy-seven percent of Marylanders are less likely to support expanding pre-K if it means reducing children’s health insurance funding, reducing public safety funding (70 percent), cutting funding for roads and transportation (70 percent), or raising taxes such as income and property taxes (59 percent). The Kirwan Commission has advocated for pre-K expansion but has provided no guidance for how to pay for it.


Businesses Should Have More Input on Education Policy:

62 percent of Marylanders said in 2018 that recommendations from the Kirwan Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education should not be considered valid without more input from the business community. The 25-member commission tasked with developing K-12 education reforms currently had only one representative from the business community.


Full survey findings can be found at Key Findings from 2018 Maryland Voter Survey on Education.


“These survey findings are just as relevant today as they were when first published in 2018,” said Christopher B. Summers, president and chief executive officer of the Institute. “Maryland’s education bureaucracy, which grew by 60 percent from 1992 to 2015, should be reformed to work for students before taxpayers are told to hand over an additional $3.8 billion in new taxes annually.”


Burton Research and Strategies conducted a survey of 600 likely voters in Maryland from March 4-6 and 7-11, 2018, with a margin of error +4.0%. The sample accurately models turnout in Maryland elections by comparing previous turnout by party registration, ethnicity, region, age, education and ethnicity.