Public Polled on Carnegie Study

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The overwhelming majority of corporate leaders, as well as the American public in general, agree that improving public education would make a major difference in the United States' ability to compete in the world marketplace, according to results of a poll released here by the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy.

The forum commissioned Louis Harris and Associates to determine what average Americans and business executives think about the issues addressed by the Carnegie Task Force on Teaching as a Profession.

The forum released the poll's results Aug. 26 during the annual meeting of the National Governors' Association, whose own education-reform report reflects many of the recommendations made by the Carnegie task force. (See related story, page 1.)

Between June 30 and July 25, the Harris firm polled 1,513 adults among the American public and 202 executives from Business Week's list of the nation's top 1,000 corporations.

The survey found:

  • Nine out of 10 Americans and an even higher proportion of corporate leaders agreed that the economic challenge from foreign competition is serious. More than 90 percent of both groups said that a well-educated work force will be needed to make the United States more competitive in the world marketplace.
  • Slightly more than half of the public and the business leaders (54 percent and 52 percent, respectively) gave the existing public-education system positive marks. But 60 percent of the public and 63 percent of the business leaders said they were dissatisfied with the return produced by tax dollars invested in education.
  • Solid majorities of the public and the business community reacted favorably to nearly all of the Carnegie proposals. For example, 87 percent of the public and 70 percent of the business leaders supported the idea of a national board to certify teachers.
  • About 77 percent of the public and 64 percent of the business leaders said they would pay higher taxes for education, and 65 percent of the business leaders said they would be willing to see their own firm's taxes rise if it would lead to better schools.
  • Eighty-nine percent of the business leaders said they would be likely to accept an invitation by their governor to be actively involved in programs to improve education.
  • Vol. 06, Issue 01, Page 11

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