Insider poll finds more gridlock ahead

Insider poll finds more gridlock ahead

(District of Columbia) By a slim majority, education experts inside the Beltway believe Congress is likely to approve President Barack Obama’s proposal to restrict commercial use of student data, according to a new survey.

In its monthly  poll of between 50 and 75 Washington D.C. education insiders, Whiteboard Advisors also found that 93 percent think the president’s plan to make community college free won’t win support in the now Republican-controlled Congress.

Whiteboard Advisors, a nationally recognized capital consulting group, includes as part of its pool of participants White House and administration officials along with congressional staffers, state education representatives and leaders of key private education associations, think tanks and other influential groups.

The poll comes in the wake of Obama’s State of the Union address in which education themes had prominent positioning.

The president’s student data legislation – dubbed the Student Digital Privacy Act – would prohibit companies from selling student data to third parties, which might use the information for targeted advertising.

The bill is based on a measure being considered by California lawmakers seeking stronger regulation of online platforms, mobile applications, cloud computing and other technologies that give businesses sensitive student data.

Insiders contacted by Whiteboard are split over the chances the data bill will succeed:

  • 14 percent said it is very unlikely to win passage
  • 14 percent said it is somewhat unlikely
  • 41 percent said the chances are likely
  • 10 percent gave the proposal a very likely chance for being approved.

The Whiteboard survey also came shortly after the introduction of a Republican approach to updating the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – a bill that among other things would eliminate many federal testing requirements. It also followed on the heels of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s landmark speech affirming the administration’s commitment to annual testing mandates.

The poll found a large majority expect the president’s position will be upheld in the coming year:

  • 75 percent said the chances that a federal requirement for the annual assessment of K-12 students is “somewhat less likely” or will not change.
  • Just 7 percent said the requirement is “significantly more likely” to change.

The president has also recently touted his goal to broaden quality pre-kindergarten throughout the nation – a plan he told an audience in Knoxville earlier this month that he expects will receive bipartisan support.

The Whiteboard poll found that, however, might be wishful thinking:

  • 35 percent said expanded pre-K is “unlikely” this session with 32 percent saying no changes will be made.
  • Eighteen percent said the expansion is “somewhat likely.”

Other highlights:

  • 79 percent said expansion of accountability measures is unlikely.
  • 86 percent said expansion of teacher evaluation measures is also unlikely.
  • 46 percent said there will be no change to the overall dollar commitment to Title I next year and 35 percent said an increase was unlikely.

To learn more about Whiteboard Advisors, visit their website: more