The PPIC survey mentioned in the last post also asked Californians to assess the performance of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and of the state legislature. Californians are increasingly unhappy with the governor’s performance — 48% disapproving and 41% approving (a decline in 16 points in approval from December 2007). The legislature’s approval rating is much lower, at 26%.
Californians these days rank the economy and jobs as their major concerns, but education also scores high as a significant worry among residents, according to the results of a major Public Policy Institute of California survey released today.
53% of Californians view the quality of K-12 public schools as a major problem. 31% view it as somewhat of a problem. 59% say that the public school system needs major changes, but few trust the governor or the legislature to get anything done. In terms of geography, more people in the Inland Empire gave their public schools average or lower grades than any other region in the state, with 47% ranking the local school systems C or below. The Bay Area was close behind, with 46% ranking the public schools C or below.
When asked whether they would support raising taxes just to maintain current spending levels for public schools, residents were evenly divided, with 49% saying they would be willing and 48% saying they would not. Even more residents were opposed to raising the sales tax to accomplish this goal, with 63% opposed.
The PPIC report is full data in response to other questions that residents were asked about the state of education in California, including adequacy and efficiency of state funding, resource equity, teacher quality, curriculum goals, and perceptions of the state’s relative education rankings.
New figures from the Employment Development Department show that the unemployment rate in California jumped to 6.2% in March, the highest rate since July 2004, when the rate was at the same mark. California is now only behind Michigan (7.2%) and Alaska (6.7%) in unemployment. Counties with high numbers of jobs in housing-related employment appear to have been hit hardest, with Riverside County the worst affected (7.4% unemployment).