The 2014 Education Next poll posed the following question: Suppose the school spending were to be increased, would you favor reducing class size, increasing teacher salaries, or buying new books and technology. Then the clever pollsters asked the same question, this time explaining what could be bought for a particular option with a fixed amount of money. (3 fewer students, a 13 percent increase in teacher salaries, or $10,000 per class in books and technology.) I’ve made a little graph from the EdNext data.
The red bars show the answers to the first version: a big preference for smaller class size. The blue bars show what happens when pollees are informed about the choices. Notice the sizable blue shift toward higher teacher salaries.
Apparently, giving people basic information matters.