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Public Attitudes Towards Standards and Schools in Two New Economy States

Note: KSA-Plus, based in Arlington, VA, is the PR firm that has
managed the PR campaign for high stakes testing for groups like MassInsight, Inc., the Business Roundtable, Achieve, et al. They use all
the PR tricks -- glossy brochures, bogus studies, public surveys and "polls." Here's their latest.

When you read about "new economy states," you can only hope you don't live in one and that it isn't contagious.

According to a new bicoastal opinion poll, the public is ready for leadership in school reform and squarely behind education standards and
high-stakes testing, despite widespread accounts of backlash among parents, educators and the public.

Ready for Leadership, a survey conducted by the Boston-based Mass Insight Education and Research Institute (MIE) and the Seattle-based Partnership for Learning of Massachusetts and Washington state residents, is being released at a time when tempers are running high among educators about the effectiveness of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Among the findings, majorities of residents of both states believe that students are now better prepared to do college-level work or to get a job than they were 10 years ago, before the advent of standards and testing; and the public and business leaders agree that there should be stronger responses to failing schools.

The survey was released in conjunction with Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of School Reform, a veritable "how-to" of proven, replicable education reform strategies that offers benchmarks and examples of reforms
that have worked in Massachusetts and Washington and can work in other states, as well.

To download Ready for Leadership and Lessons Learned, please go to


Here are the title page and the acknowledgments:

Ready for Leadership

Public Attitudes Towards Standards
and Schools in Two New Economy States

May, 2004


Ready for Leadership and More Math, Please

Two reports from public and business leader

opinion polling on education reform in

Massachusetts and Washington state


appreciation to Partnership for Learning in Washington, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and the Washington Roundtable, and to Opinion Dynamics Corporation of Cambridge,
Massachusetts for their assistance in conducting this research.

Our thanks also go to one of our leadership contributors, Washington Mutual, and to
Massachusetts-based Alliance for Better Schools and the Noyce Foundation for the financial support they provided to underwrite this project.

None of this work would be possible without the contributions of Mass Insight Education’s other
corporate and philanthropic contributors as well, including FleetBoston, State Street
Corporation, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, Verizon Corporation, IBM, EMC
Corporation, and The Boston Foundation. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation is serving as
lead funder of our three-year, three-city Keep the Promise research initiative, which helped to inform this report.

We have always believed that raising standards and improving student achievement must be a
community-wide endeavor. To that end, we have conducted quarterly public opinion surveys of
Massachusetts residents (in association with our sister organization, Mass Insight Corporation) that have included education-related questions since the beginning of Massachusetts’ higher-standards effort in 1993. We are all better off when the public is well informed on the most critical issues of the day. It is in that spirit that we present the findings of this report.

Mass Insight Education and Research Institute
William Guenther, President and Founder
Andrew Calkins, Executive Director
Jason Kingston, Director of Field Research
Alison Fraser, Communications Manager
Joanna Manikas, Graphic Designer
Deborah Abbott, Business Manager
Jason Shepard, Program Assistant
Copyright©2004 by the Mass Insight Education and Research Institute, a 501c3 non-profit
organization. All rights reserved. Permission granted to copy this report for non-commercial use.

Project Partners
Mass Insight Education and Research Institute (project organizer)
Mass Insight Education is an independent nonprofit organization focused on improving student achievement in Massachusetts public schools. Through extensive school district networks and training and technical assistance based on converting research into effective organizational reform practices; leadership development programs; public service outreach initiatives; and public opinion policy and field research reports, Mass Insight Education supports the thoughtful implementation of the 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act, with a primary focus on its central initiative — the statewide standards and testing program.
18 Tremont Street, Suite 930, Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-722-4160 | Fax: 617-722-4151
www.massinsight.com | www.buildingblocks.org
Email: insight@massinsight.com

Partnership for Learning (lead collaborator)
Partnership for Learning is an independent, statewide, nonprofit coalition of Washington business and community leaders. The organization works to educate, influence and mobilize educators, parents and the general public in order to improve our public schools and better prepare our high school graduates for the demands of today's global economy.
500 Union St., Ste. 745, Seattle, WA 98101
Tel: 206-625-9655
Email: info@partnership4learning.org

Washington Mutual (lead sponsor)
With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and commercial clients.
Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,400 consumer banking, mortgage lending,
commercial banking, and financial services offices throughout the nation. The company expects its community and employee giving program to total over $115 million in 2004, with approximately $24 million of that total to support education initiatives. More information is available at

Mass Insight
Partnership for Learning

Here's the opening text:

Massachusetts and Washington state are peas in a pod. Startlingly similar demographically (see table, the two states share other attributes as well: similar economies (high tech, high finance, higher education and research); similar reputations as arts and cultural centers; and similarly passionate baseball fans. We are neighbors, in some ways, occupying
oceanfront property at opposite ends of the same street —Interstate 90.

And so on. Be wary of corporate types touting similarities.

— Mass Insight Education and Research Institute



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