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Research Methods

 Surveys were conducted May 4–15, 2007, among 1,526 adults nationwide, including
1,000 members of the general public and 626 parents of K-12 students, and among
101 public school administrators and 251 public school teachers. Oversamples were
conducted among 226 California residents (for a total of 470 California residents)
and among 200 adults where the survey was administered in Spanish (100 in
California, 100 nationwide). The Spanish language samples were weighted to their
proper proportions of the population in the main sample. At the 95% confidence
level, the data’s margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points among all adults, and
higher among smaller populations and subgroups.
 Six focus groups were conducted in mid-to-late March 2007: two groups in
Indianapolis, IN; two in Fremont, CA; and two in Alexandria, VA. One group each
was conducted among public school administrators and voters who are not parents.
Two groups each were conducted among public school teachers and parents with
children in public school. In addition, seven in-depth interviews were conducted
among leading education experts.

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Summary of Key Points
 The public supports NCLB reauthorization, despite limited
knowledge of it. The public is divided over NCLB, but many people simply
are uninformed. Support grows to a majority when NCLB is defined. Majorities
support the underlying principle that federal funding should be tied to
accountability requirements. A majority of adults support reauthorization
with some changes.
 Teachers support reauthorization despite misgivings. Public school
teachers and administrators are strongly negative toward NCLB. Nonetheless,
teachers and administrators strongly support NCLB reauthorization with major
changes: “better the devil you know.”
 Standards, Accountability and Flexibility: In reauthorization, the
public, teachers, and administrators support high standards of accountability as
well as greater flexibility. They emphasize finding solutions for poorly
performing schools, not just identifying them. They also call for greater
flexibility in assessing English-language learners.

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Grading School Quality

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Assessing the Nation’s Schools
How well do you think our K-12 schools are working?
Working well/need some changes but basically keep as is
Need major changes/complete overhaul
58% 58%
56%
53% 52% 53%
52% 51% 51% 50%
50% 50%

48% 48% 47%


45% 45% 45% 45% 45% 45%
42% 41% 41% Working well/
some
changes
69% teachers

72%
administrator
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2001 2004 2005 2006 s2007 Q.5b

General Public K-12 Parents


5

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Grades for the Nation’s Schools
Remain at ‘C’
Spring 2007
The Public’s Report Card
The Nation’s Schools
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - General Public - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
A 4% 5% 3% 2% 2% 2% 2%
B 23% 26% 23% 20% 29% 14% 18%
C 44% 44% 46% 47% 47% 50% 51%
D 16% 15% 15% 15% 13% 21% 16%
F 5% 5% 4% 4% 2% 4% 3%
GPA 2.0 2.1 2.1 2.0 2.2 1.9 2.0 Q.10

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Grades for the Nation’s Schools
Remain at ‘C’
Spring 2007
Education Stakeholders’ Report Card
The Nation’s Schools
Public
school Public school
- - - - - - - K-12 Parents - - - - - - teachers administrators
2007 2006 2005 2004 2001 2007 2007
A 4% 5% 4% 2% 8% 4% 1%
B 25% 26% 27% 20% 35% 33% 41%
C 43% 45% 46% 48% 33% 41% 42%
D 16% 14% 12% 14% 13% 10% 4%
F 4% 4% 2% 3% 4% 1% 0%
GPA 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.0 2.3 2.3 2.4 Q.10

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Grades for One’s Own School:
Better – But Still Not Great
Spring 2007
Public School Stakeholders’ Report Card
My Children’s School/My School(s)
Public Public
school school Public school
parents teachers administrators
A 26% 27% 32%
B 41% 52% 57%
C 21% 17% 8%
D 8% 2% 1%
F 3% 1% 0%
Q.6, 8, 9
GPA 2.8 3.0 3.2
8

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Public School Problems and
Their Solutions
One or two biggest reasons for public schools' problems
One or two best changes to solve public schools' problems
General Public
Lack of/need more 39%
parental involvement 27%
Lack of/need more 26%
classroom discipline 23%
Lack of funding/ 18%
increase funding 13%
Large class sizes/ 13%
reduce class sizes 21%
Low standards & expectations for 12%
students/raise standards & expectations 13%
Unmotivated teachers/ 12%
incentives to motivate teachers 10%
Too few/need more 9%
qualified teachers 20%
Lack of/need more challenging/ 8%
interesting schoolwork 13% Q.11a,b
Lack of consistent measures of student 8%
learning/increase testing 2%
9

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No Child Left Behind

10

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Public and Parents Are Divided
on No Child Left Behind
Attitudes toward No Child Left Behind
Very favorable Somewhat favorable
67%
Very unfavorableSomewhat unfavorable

48%
45%
38%
43% 41% 41% 43% 40%

24%
37%
21% 23% 24% 20% 21%
19% 16% 16% 14%

2005 2006 2007 K-12 Adults who


parents took survey
General public in Spanish Q.13

11

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Public and Parents Are Divided
on No Child Left Behind
Attitudes toward No Child Left Behind
Very favorable Somewhat favorable
Very unfavorableSomewhat unfavorable

General public, by party ID


51% 52%
48%

35% 35% 34%

31% 28%
17% 13% 17% 13%
Q.13

Democrats Independents Republicans


12

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Teachers and Administrators Are
Firmly Opposed to NCLB
Attitudes toward No Child Left Behind
77% Very favorable Somewhat favorable
Very unfavorableSomewhat unfavorable
63%

33%

20% 49%
38%

Public school Public school Q.13


teachers administrators
13

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Public Lacks Knowledge of
No Child Left Behind

Know a great deal about NCLB


Know a fair amount about NCLB
Know nothing at all about NCLB
Know just some about NCLB

54% 52%
47%
45%

16% 13%
Q.14a
General public K-12 parents
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Many Unaware of National Education
Reform Efforts
Where do things stand today in terms of education reform at the
national level in Washington, D.C.?
General public
Not sure 13%

There has been a lot of talk, but so


far there has been no action. 28%
President/Congress each have
put together proposals, but no
agreement has been reached and 13%
no legislation has been passed. Just 46% of
Education reform bill has been adults (49%
passed by Congress/signed into of K-12
law by President Bush, but so far 32% parents) know
reforms have not led to any NCLB reform
changes in the schools. is law.
Reforms are leading to changes 14% Q.12
in the schools.

15

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Only Half Can Pick NCLB
Out of a Lineup
What does “No Child Left Behind” really mean to you?

General public
Setting standards for student
learning, and testing students Right answer 47%
to ensure those standards are
being achieved

Making sure that students keep


progressing on to the next 26%
grade level until they reach
graduation

Requiring all students to pass a 46% of adults


national test in twelfth grade in (44% of K-12
order to graduate from high 12%
parents) get it
school and go on to college
wrong.
Giving parents vouchers so that
their child can attend the school Q.14b
of their choice 8%

16

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Support for NCLB Increases
When Law Is Defined
Attitudes toward No Child Left Behind
Very favorable Somewhat favorable
Very unfavorableSomewhat unfavorable
Uninformed “The No Child Left Behind Act
Informed
provides federal funds for school 59%
districts with poor children in order 56%
to close achievement gaps. It
48% also requires states to set
41% 43% 40% standards for education and to
39%
test students each year to 36%
determine whether the standards
are being met by all students. In
addition, No Child Left Behind
provides funding to help teachers
become highly qualified. It also
24% provides addition-al funding and 27%
20% 21% 22% 21% 19%
16% prescribes con-sequences to
schools that fail to achieve
academic targets set by their
General public K-12 parents state.” General public K-12 parents

Q.13,15
17

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Support for Basic NCLB Provisions
of Accountability and Funding

General public
Federal government should be
involved in both funding and 45%
standards for accountability.
Federal government should
continue to provide funds to
school districts with children from
low-income families to help close 25%
gaps in student learning.

Federal government should


continue to make sure that high
standards are set in order to 19%
ensure that school districts are
being held accountable for
student learning.
Federal government should not
be involved in either funding or 9% Q.14b
standards for accountability.

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NCLB Values: Federal Funding Should Be
Tied to Accountability Standards

Public Rejects NCLB Opt-Out


57% 58%
Should standards and testing 49%
described by NCLB be required of
all states that want federal money 43%
for education, or should states be 37%
able to opt out of the standards 34%
and testing and still get federal
education money?

States should NOT be


allowed to opt out.
States should be
allowed to opt out.
General Public school Public school
public teachers administrators
Q.17a
19

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Public, Administrators and Teachers Want
Reauthorization
NCLB should be reauthorized with minor changes.
NCLB should be reauthorized with major changes.
NCLB should not be reauthorized.
58%
52%
45%
41%
35% 36%

25% 26%
22%
16% 17%
13%

General K-12 Public school Public school


public parents teachers administrators
Q.16
20

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Public Supports National Standards
Teachers/Administrators Disagree

59%
Currently, NCLB allows each state to 56%
develop its own standards and tests 49%
and use its own criteria to evaluate the
43% 41%
test results:
Should make NCLB more uniform by 35%
replacing 50 sets of standards and
tests with one set of national standards
and tests, so eighth-grade math is the
same in Florida and Alaska

Should keep system as is, because it


gives federal government school
accountability but lets states define
academic goals in their state General Public Public school
public school administrators
teachers
Q.17b
21

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Concern That States Might Set Low Standards
Teachers/Admin Trust State Leaders

57%
52% 51%
Concerned that if federal 48%
government doesn't set
standards for student learning, 38% 39%
37%
then some states will set low 32%
standards to ensure their
schools succeed.
We can expect the governors
and state legislatures of all
states to set high standards for
student achievement.

General K-12 Public Public school


public parents school administrators
teachers
Q.18b
22

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Concern About the Federal
Government Role in Education
Which concerns you more? 72%

63%

Federal government will get


too involved in education and
45% 45%
interfere with issues better 43%
left to states and local 40%
communities

23%
Federal government will not 19%
be involved enough in doing
what is necessary to improve
our schools

General K-12 Public Public school


public parents school administrators
teachers
Q.18a
23

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Reasons Against Reauthorization
Very convincingFairly convincing
Public Public
school school
General public teachers admin
Teachers pressured to 80% 56%
teach to test, neglect broad
37% 53%
knowledge of subject
Testing emphasis distorts 35% 52% 78% 61%
priorities, teachers focus on
students in trouble, neglect
others
29% 46% 74% 71%
Burdens state to identify
poor schools, but no
solutions/funding 26% 45% 66% 57%
Emphasis on NCLB test
scores/ replace
individualized assessments 23% 39% 74% 61%
Testing new English
speakers doesn’t measure
learning, penalizes schools 19% 37% 52% 52%
with lots of these students
Education has always been 20% 33%
state/ local responsibility; 58% 43%
in some cases NCLB Q.21b
overruled state reforms 24

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Reasons for Reauthorization
Very convincingFairly convincing

General public
NCLB testing identifies 53% among
schools that need help with 36% 62% administrators
groups of students
Only reason
State standards are 37% 61% a majority of
important step toward teachers &
education excellence to admin find
compete in global economy 36% 56% convincing

NCLB tests useful to ensure


students gets basics for 33% 56%
promotion
NCLB tests help 32% 55%
public/leaders identify
schools that need
improving 34% 52%
In reauthorization, NCLB
could be improved with 27% 46%
more assessments
Give NCLB more time to 22% 39%
see if it works, don’t reform
every few years Q.21a
25
If not reauthorized, major
setback for national
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After the Arguments, Public Still
Wants NCLB Reauthorized
Teacher Opposition Grows But Remains Minority
NCLB should be reauthorized with minor changes.
NCLB should be reauthorized with major changes.
NCLB should not be reauthorized 56%

47% 46%
43%
36% 36%
33%

22% 22%
19%
17%
14%

General public K-12 parents Public school Public school


teachers administrators
Q.22
26

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What to Do About
Poorly Performing Schools

27

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Views on Dealing With Poorly
Performing Schools
General public who say each should happen Public Public
in all/most cases school school
when school performs poorly on NCLB tests teachers admin
Administrators required
for several years
to develop real change 64% 63% 77%
of plan
More funding to hire 57% 71% 61%
teachers, lower class
size, improve school 50% 37% 24%
Children able to get free
tutoring from state- 30% 21% 29%
approved provider
School day or year 28% 16% 12%
lengthened
26% 14% 1%
Children can transfer to
another public
school/free 25% 9% 4%
transportation
Vouchers given for 18% 20% 14%
tuition at any public or
private school 12% 4% 5%
School taken
over/restructured with Q.23
new administrators 28

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Public’s Views on Dealing With Poorly
Performing Schools
General public who say each should happen in all/most cases
when school performs poorly on NCLB tests for several years
General public who say each should happen in only some cases
General public who say each should not happen in any cases
86%
72%

25%

40% 12%
24%

Q.23
Many teachers lose jobs/be School taken over/
replaced by other teachers restructured with new
administrators
29

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Public’s Views on Dealing With Poorly
Performing Schools
General public who say each should happen in
all/most cases
when school
General public performs
who say poorlyhappen
each should on NCLB testssome
in only for cases
several years
General public who say each should not happen in any cases

57%

41%

32%
In all
12% cases

More funding to hire


teachers, lower class size, Q.23
improve school
30

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English-Language Learners

31

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Most Want Flexibility for
English-Language Learners
77% 77%
We should be flexible when it comes to English
language learners. By allowing these students 67%
sufficient time to become capable in English, we
are helping build their confidence and giving 58%
them an essential skill needed to be competitive
going forward, even if it means that these
students may fall behind their peers somewhat
in other skills such as math and science.
Strongly agree Somewhat agree 36%
We should be firm when it comes to English- 26% 51%
language learners. By allowing these students to 53% 22%
take their time when learning English, we are 40% 20%
34%
leaving them at risk of being left permanently
behind in other skills such as math and science 22%
with no clear way of getting them caught up to 17%
their peers, even if it means that these students 13%
8%
may at times be uncomfortable because they
cannot fully express themselves in English.
General Hispanics Public Public
Strongly agree Somewhat agree public school school
teachers admin
Q.24
32

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But Public Is Divided Over
Their Test Scores
Should English-language learners’ NCLB test scores
be included in their school’s overall NCLB score?
85%
77%

55%
Should be included
48%
46% 43%
Should be excluded for
one to two years
Should be excluded for 18% 50% 48%
three/more years 14%
18% 15%

General Hispanics Public Public school


public school admin
teachers
Q.25
33

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Conclusions:
 Public Support for NCLB Reauthorization
Must Be Earned.

♦ The public has lost focus.


♦ The words have become a slogan.
♦ But reintroduction and explanation will
yield strong support.
♦ It’s viewed as a needed reform that reflects
the public’s values.

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Conclusions:
 Help for Struggling Schools
♦ The public, teachers and administrators
want changes.
♦ Flexibility
♦ Solutions for poorly performing schools
♦ Give struggling schools the money they need.

35

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Conclusions:
 NCLB Is Not an End But a Means.
♦ A building block to collect data needed
for continued improvement.
♦ Focus on the challenges ahead.
♦ We must expect more of students,
parents and schools.
♦ Our continued success in the face of
global competition depends on it.

36

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Looking Beyond the
Current Reauthorization Debate:
Policymakers’ Views

37

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Policymakers Speak:
NCLB — The Challenges and
Changes Ahead

“Version 3.0, which is down the road, will be where you start to
see the big shift, whether it’s things like national standards or really
new forward-looking ways to doing accountability.… Version 3.0,
which is not the one we’re ready for yet, I think the big shift will be
the one after this where we may be in a position to really go in a
new direction.”

38

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Policymakers Speak:
NCLB — The Challenges and
Changes Ahead

“The real challenge for us in the next ten years is to see how we can
really help schools respond to the challenges that some of these
reforms bring.… Support for schools to respond to those reforms, to
respond to the demands that testing brings, to respond to the
demands of teaching to one standard … to respond to the demands of
closing the achievement gap and of what schools do once they find
that pocket of students who are underperforming in their schools.
That’s the real challenge.”

39

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Policymakers Speak:
NCLB — The Challenges and
Changes Ahead
“I don’t think NCLB is going to solve it because NCLB is a national
framework, but ultimately, you’ve got to take this issue state by state.
Go to the leaders of the states, the business leaders, the education
leaders and the political leaders in the state and say that we’ve got to
look at what really are the rigors of the courses, how well are our
students doing, and what’s the achievement level of our students that
are measured by a national test.”

40

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Many Believe Status Quo Will Have a
Negative Impact on America Soon
If changes are not made to our education system, will it
have a negative impact on America’s global competitiveness and
strength of our economy? If so, how soon?

General public 59%

5 to
10
years
23%
3 to
20% 5
15% years
19%
Withi
n
a
year
Won’t have Negative, but Negative
17% Q.26
negative more than impact within
impact 10 years out 10 years
41

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