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Poll: How Americans Grade The School System


Cover Story: Business Week/Harris Poll

POLL: HOW AMERICANS GRADE THE SCHOOL SYSTEM

IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED

In general, how would you rate the quality of American public

schools--excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?

Excellent 3%

Pretty good 36%

Only fair 36%

Poor 23%

Not sure 2%

A DIRECT STAKE

Do you have a child or grandchild who is currently

attending or has attended U.S. public schools in the past five

years, or not?

Yes 52%

No 47%

Not sure 1%

FAMILY REPORT

(If yes:) How would you rate the quality of those schools--excellent, pretty

good, only fair, or poor?

Excellent 16%

Pretty good 44%

Only fair 29%

Poor 10%

Not sure 1%

NEIGHBORS' VIEW

(If no:) How would you rate the quality of the public schools in your local

community--excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?

Excellent 12%

Pretty good 43%

Only fair 25%

Poor 17%

Not sure 3%

WHAT'S GOING WRONG

Within the public school system, is each of the following a very serious

problem, a somewhat serious problem, not a very serious problem, or not a

problem at all?

Very Somewhat Not very Not a Not

serious serious serious problem sure

A lack of parental involvement with children's education

56% 26% 9% 6% 3%

A shortage of teachers

37% 23% 18% 18% 4%

An insufficiently challenging curriculum

33% 31% 16% 13% 7%

Too many administrative rules governing individual schools

25% 37% 22% 9% 7%

A lack of up-to-date computers and equipment

24% 30% 24% 16% 6%

A short school year18% 24% 25% 28% 5%

SCHOOL BUCKS

Even if it might mean higher taxes, would you favor spending more money on your

community's public schools, or would you favor spending less or about the same

amount of money?

More 47%

Less 8%

About the

same 43%

Not sure 2%

LEVELING THE LEARNING FIELD

Now I'd like to read you a series of statements about public school education

in this country. Tell me whether you agree or disagree with each statement.

Agree Disagree Not sure

School districts that decide to raise more money to pay for better schools

should be allowed to do so

86% 13% 1%

Children should be able to attend any school they qualify for, including

public, parochial, or private schools, with government money going to poor or

middle-income children attending private or parochial

schools

69% 29% 2%

Children should be able to attend the public school of their choice, including

one out of their district, with government money going to the school they attend

63% 35% 2%

To ensure more equal spending among districts, financing of the public school

system should be taken out of the hands of local government and moved toward

federal or state governments

43% 52% 5%

Most of the money for schools should continue to come from local

taxes, not state or federal taxes

41% 56% 3%

BACK TO BASICS

Do you favor or oppose each of the following proposed changes to the curriculum

in public schools?

Not

Favor Oppose sure

Putting more emphasis on teaching tougher, more challenging basics such

as reading, writing, math, and science

96% 3% 1%

Teaching more practical skills that can be used in the work force

92% 7% 1%

Raising requirements for passing courses and graduating

80% 18% 2%

Teaching more about foreign countries and languages

71% 27% 2%

Teaching a broader, more enriched curriculum, including more arts and music

67% 32% 1%

TEACHERS' PAYCHECKS

Bearing in mind that they are paid out of taxes, do you think public school

teachers are paid enough, too little, or too much?

Enough 35%

Too little 55%

Too much 6%

Not sure 4%

THE EDUCATION PRESIDENT?

Who do you think would do a better job of improving education in this country

if elected President--President Bush or Governor Clinton?

Bush 35%

Clinton 49%

Not sure 16%

Survey of 1,250 adults conducted Aug. 26-31, 1992, for BUSINESS WEEK by Louis

Harris & Associates Inc. Results should be accurate to within 3 percentage

points.

Edited by Mark N. Vamos


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