A slim majority of Utahns say they oppose House Speaker Becky Lockhart's quest to become the next state superintendent of public schools.
A Utah Policy.com poll, conducted by Dan Jones and Associates, finds that 52% of Utahns oppose the State School Board appointing Lockhart as the next superintendent.
As part of our survey, we informed respondents that Lockhart holdd a degree in nursing and has served on the board of directors for hospitals, but has not been a public school teacher, administrator or school board member. We also told them that she has worked on education issues as a member of the legislature and proposed more funding for technology in education.
Seemingly, the biggest problem for Lockhart is Utahns really don't know much about her. When asked about their impression of Lockhart, 19% said they had a favorable impression, 22% said their impression was unfavorable, but 59% said they either had no opinion of her or had never heard of her.
Utahns strongly feel that whomever becomes state superintendent, they should have experience in the classroom or with education administration. We told respondents that Utah state law says the superintendent must have "outstanding professional qualifications," but does not require a background in education.
We gave our respondents a number of statements about possible candidates for state superintendent. 56% of Utahns agreed with the thought that the superintendent should have a PhD or other advanced degree in education, while 71% feet that the superintendent should be a former certified teacher or school administrator with an advanced degree.
On the other side, 53% disagreed with the statement that the superintendent does not need to be a former school teacher or administrator, but should have a good understanding of how Utah's schools operate. 48% disagreed with the statement that the superintendent should understand Utah politics and be able to get things done in the Legislature.
The survey was conducted September 2-4 among 400 likely voters. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.
[Editor's note: Zions Bank is a major sponsor of Utah Policy, which makes production of these public opinion polls possible.]