The Pope Center Polls Revisited

A look back at this year’s reader polls reveals a high degree of agreement among Pope Center readers.

By Jenna A. Robinson


December 29, 2011

This year, the Pope Center introduced a new feature: reader polls. We used the online polls to ask our readers about important controversies in higher education—from the higher education bubble to the role of single-sex education.

Looking back over the year reveals the Pope Center readers’ most pressing concerns: falling academic standards, the existence of a bubble in higher education, and unchecked student behavior. In most of our polls, the majority of readers agreed on a single choice, but check out our first and latest (February 18 and September 22).

Here are the results of those polls (with links to the original articles):

  • February 18: What is your biggest concern about higher education?
    • Falling academic standards 31.25% (50 votes)
    • Overselling college and credential inflation 27.5% (44 votes)
    • Runaway costs and spending 17.5% (28 votes)
    • Bias on campus and in the classroom 15.63% (25 votes)
    • Something else 8.13% (13 votes)
  • March 11: What laws should states adopt on public sector collective bargaining?
    • Public sector collective bargaining should be illegal 84.62%  (264 votes)
    • Public sector collective bargaining should be permitted but not required 12.82%  (40 votes)
    • Public sector collective bargaining should be required 1.6%  (5 votes)
    • None of the above 0.96%  (3 votes)
  • May 20: Do you think there is a higher education bubble?
    • Yes, and it's still inflating 58.77%  (134 votes)
    • Yes, and it's about to burst 17.11%  (39 votes)
    • Yes, and it's beginning to deflate 12.72%  (29 votes)
    • No, it's impossible to compare higher education to assets like housing or stocks—they're too different 7.46%  (17 votes)
    • No, the cost of higher education is commensurate with the value graduates receive 2.63%  (6 votes)
    • None of the above 1.32%  (3 votes)
  • June 23: Should universities return to traditional rules on student behavior--such as implementing same-sex and alcohol-free dorms?
    • Yes, at all schools 57.26% (71 votes)
    • Both traditional and modern student-life options should be available on campus 22.58% (28 votes)
    • No, in loco parentis is antiquated and unnecessary 11.29% (14 votes)
    • Yes, at religious schools only 6.45% (8 votes)
    • Other 2.42% (3 votes)
  • August 11: Do women's colleges have a place in modern education?
    • Absolutely! Women's colleges offer a unique experience that will always be valuable. 73.99% (165 votes)
    • Yes. As long as demand exists, there should be women's colleges to meet it. 21.08% (47 votes)
    • No. Single-sex education is obsolete!  4.04%  (9 votes)
    • Other 0.9% (2 votes)
  • September 22: How should universities address students' low academic performance?
    • Flunk low-performing students (No more grade inflation!)  35.71%  (145 votes)
    • Improve K-12 education 26.6% (108 votes)
    • Increase admissions standards 23.4% (95 votes)
    • Enhance academic support programs (tutoring, mentoring, advising) 7.64% (31 votes)
    • Other 3.94%  (16 votes)
    • More and better remedial programs at colleges and universities 2.71% (11 votes)


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