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NCLB Outrages

Citizens reject view that their schools are failing

Americans finally feel they know enough about NCLB to have an opinion -- and the more they know about NCLB the more they dislike it.

By Jim Broadway
August 27, 2010 ΓΆ€“ The Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll results for 2010 ("What Americans Said about the Public Schools") reveal, for the umpteenth year in a row, that Americans respect and appreciate their public schools in spite of all the political and corporate school-bashing.

What's the biggest problem in education today? It is that they are inadequately funded, citizens believe, not just in Illinois but nationally. What would have the most beneficial effect? That would be improving the teaching corps, recruiting, supporting and retaining the best teachers possible.

Americans generally dislike the growing federal involvement in education. Most feel policy that affects schools should be set at the state level. President Obama's approval rating on education issues fell by 11 percentage points this year compared to the 2009 PDK poll.

Underperforming schools should be given comprehensive external support, citizens believe. They reject "turnaround" policies requiring automatic termination of teachers and administrators.

They oppose just closing schools down and assigning students to other schools.

Americans are warming up to the concept of public charter schools -- that's public charters -- and they reject experimental motivational techniques such as paying students to read books and score higher on standardized tests. Citizens don't care much for high-stakes tests in any case.

This year's chart on NCLB is particularly interesting [Page 12]. Americans finally feel they know enough about it to have an opinion -- and the more they know about NCLB the more they dislike it.

The 2010 PDK/Gallup Poll report is easy to read, just 19 pages filled with charts and tables and other quickly informative snippets documenting public attitudes about education. For educators, it will be reassuring. For compulsive reformists, it may be frustrating.

— Jim Broadway
State School News Service


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