News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Poll Reveals Support For Key ESEA Features
More than 80 percent of voters, according to a new survey, support having the federal government hold states and local schools accountable for ensuring student improvement—a central goal of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Those numbers climbed to 91 percent on three more specific elements of the law, the "No Child Left Behind" Act of 2001: requiring schools to set and meet goals each year to show that all children are making academic progress; requiring districts to give parents annual report cards on the academic performance of schools; and requiring states to have a "highly qualified" teacher in every classroom by the end of 2005-06, even if it means some teachers may be forced to obtain more training.
The survey of more than 1,100 registered voters was conducted Dec. 29-30 by the Winston Group, a Republican opinion-research firm in Alexandria, Va. A new group calling itself Americans for Better Education commissioned the poll. A press release describes the group as a nonpartisan coalition of business leaders, parents, educators, and reform advocates.
—Erik. W. Robelen
Survey Finds Majority Unfamiliar With Title IX
Another new poll has found that most adults are unfamiliar with the 30-year-old law that prohibits sex discrimination at schools and colleges receiving federal money. Of those who had heard of the law, half think it should stand as it is, and essentially equal percentages say it should be strengthened or weakened.
The USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, conducted the first weekend in January, found that 43 percent of the 1,000 people polled were familiar with the law, known as Title IX. Of those, 20 percent wanted its regulations made "stronger," 50 percent wanted them to stay the same, and 21 percent wanted the rules "weaker."
Polltakers when talking to respondents did not define "stronger" and "weaker," according to a Gallup official. Respondents, before being asked that question, were told that the 1972 law was intended to prevent discrimination "on the basis of gender."
The Department of Education is studying whether Title IX rules need to be altered. Some women's groups say the regulators need to do more to ensure girls and woman receive equal treatment on the athletic field, but some men's sports organizations say Title IX rules have forced some schools to cut men's teams.
—Michelle R. Davis
Vol. 22, Issue 18, Page 21