Dear Bill and Melinda,
There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the American Federation of Teachers’ Union [AFT] poll on their teacher’s approval/disapproval of Common Core State Standards.
Some teachers have been wondering aloud on Twitter: “How many teachers were polled?”
@KatieOsgood_ asks: “What is pt of polling when so much misinformation out there?”
@cjnkira says: “polling isn’t “critiquing” – the survey was biased garbage – bubble me this, no comments allowed”
@kteacherNYC asks: “I still want to know if @rweingarten knowingly presented a sliding scale Q as a Y/N for her 74% stat?”
So many questions are being asked about this polling. And of course, Diane Ravitch picked it up and informed us about some of the controversy.
Hart had this to say in their defense:
“A sample size of 800 teachers is appropriate and common. Schneider notes that “AFT/Hart only surveyed nine one-hundredths of a percent of the AFT membership (.09%),” and adds for emphasis: “Please don’t miss this. AFT did not survey even 10% of its membership before forming an opinion of teacher acceptance of CCSS.” In fact, a survey sample size of 800 is reasonable and quite common: for example, most national media surveys interview between 800 and 1,000 registered voters. Moreover, researchers understand that survey samples are not properly evaluated as a percentage of the underlying population. By randomly selecting respondents, a relatively small sample can provide an accurate measurement on a much larger population. If Schneider’s 10% standard were correct, pollsters would need to interview 20 million U.S. voters to conduct a single survey of registered voters. Needless to say, not many surveys would be conducted.”
1724 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009 202-234-5570http://www.hartresearch.com
Randi Weingarten repeatedly defends the polling process, including a random sampling of .09% of the whole, as reliable, best polling practices:
“Same as all other polls we have done-w/one of best pollsters in nation.” ~ @rweingarten
“It was a survey done based upon the best polling practices.” ~ @rweingarten
“- same as all of our other polls. Always been viewed as reliable measure…” ~@rweingarten
Hart defends the polling process, including a random sampling of .09% of the whole, as “reliable”. Again, Hart states strongly:
“The survey employed a standard sampling methodology, used in countless surveys by many polling organizations. On behalf of AFT, Hart Research Associates conducted a telephone survey of 800 AFT K-12 teachers from March 27 to 30, 2013. Respondents were selected randomly from AFT membership lists. This process of random selection produces a representative sample, allowing us to generalize from the survey respondents to the larger population being sampled (in this case, all AFT teachers). There is nothing unusual or controversial about this method.”
But, these questions led us to a much different thinking. Perhaps the Hart method is reliable. Perhaps we can apply this method to some other controversial topics…
@thechalkface said: “I still don’t get how this survey could be used to justify anything.”
That got us thinking: Why don’t we apply this SAME reliable random selection process to test our children. Why don’t we, by a random selection process, test .09% of our children in public schools? After all, isn’t this method standard and allows us to generalize from the testing respondents to the larger populations being sampled [in this case public school students]? Is there anything unusual or controversial about this method being applied to our children and school testing?
My reply to @thechalkface:
“I think it justifies that we only need to test .09% of our kids.”
What do you think? It’s reliable, after all.
Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates