Federal

NCLB Seen as Ineffective, Poll Suggests

By Laura Greifner — August 22, 2006 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Almost 70 percent of American adults who say they are familiar with the federal No Child Left Behind Act believe it has had no effect or is actually hurting public schools, says a nationwide survey released today.

The 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools surveyed 1,007 adults on issues such as how public schools are evalu-ated, how school improvement should occur, and the state of current reform efforts.

Links to the 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll, as well as further resources on the survey, are available from Phi Delta Kappa.

“The views expressed in this year’s PDK/Gallup poll should serve as a wake-up call to our nation’s policymakers as they begin the process of reauthorizing NCLB in 2007,” William Bushaw, the executive director of Bloomington, Ind.-based PDK International, said in a statement.

More American adults reported being knowledgeable about No Child Left Behind than in previous surveys, but many have an unfavorable view of the law. Forty-five percent of those polled said they knew either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” about the federal law, up from 40 percent last year and 31 percent two years ago.

However, of this group, 31 percent said the law was hurting the performance of public schools in their communities, and 37 percent said it had made no difference. Twenty-nine percent said it was helping their local public schools.

State tests as mandated by NCLB currently require students to be assessed only in reading and mathematics. In this year’s survey, 69 percent of respondents said a single test will not provide a fair picture of whether a school needs improvement, and 81 percent said they believed testing requirements should include assessments of students’ knowledge in subjects beyond just reading and math. The No Child Left Behind law requires states to test students in science at least once annually in each 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade span, beginning in the 2007-08 school year.

‘A Clear Message’

NCLB: Help or Hindrance

Americans who report knowing a great deal or a fair amount about the NCLB law are more inclined to think it is hurting public schools than the public at large.

*Click image to see the full chart

BRIC ARCHIVE

SOURCE: Phi Delta Kappa International

Despite the negative public perception of No Child Left Behind, the poll showed an overall positive view of the nation’s public schools. When asked how educators should attempt to improve education, 71 percent of respondents preferred improvements in the existing public school system, rather than establishing an alternative system.

“The fact that the public’s support of its local schools is unaffected by the criticism directed at public schools in general should send a clear message… that change proposals should be built on the assumption that people like the schools they have,” Lowell C. Rose, the executive director emeritus of PDK International and co-author of the study, said in a statement.

In addition, just 19 percent of the poll’s respondents blame the quality of schooling for the achievement gap between white students and their minority counterparts, while the overwhelming majority, 77 percent, attribute the inequality to “other factors.”

The poll also addressed the topic of charter schools and choice, finding that the public has several misconceptions about the nature of charter schools. For example, only 39 percent of those polled knew that charters are public schools. The majority of respondents believed charters are free to teach religion, charge tuition, and select students on the basis of ability, when, in fact, they are prohibited from doing any those things.

In addition, the poll asked people whether they favored or opposed allowing parents to choose to have their children attend private schools at public expense. Of those surveyed, 36 percent favored the idea while 60 percent opposed it.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal K-12 Leaders Denounce Antisemitism But Reject That It's Rampant in Schools
Three school district leaders said they're committed to rooting out antisemitism during a hearing in Congress.
6 min read
From left, David Banks, chancellor of New York Public schools, speaks next to Karla Silvestre, President of the Montgomery Count (Md.) Board of Education, Emerson Sykes, Staff Attorney with the ACLU, and Enikia Ford Morthel, Superintendent of the Berkeley United School District, during a hearing on antisemitism in K-12 public schools, at the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, on May 8, 2024, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
From left, David Banks, chancellor of New York City schools, speaks next to Karla Silvestre, president of the Montgomery County, Md., school board; Emerson Sykes, staff attorney with the ACLU; and Enikia Ford Morthel, superintendent of the Berkeley Unified school district in Berkeley, Calif., during a hearing on antisemitism in K-12 public schools, at the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, on May 8, 2024, in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal Miguel Cardona in the Hot Seat: 4 Takeaways From a Contentious House Hearing
FAFSA, rising antisemitism, and Title IX dominated questioning at a U.S. House hearing with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testifies during a House Committee on Education and Workforce hearing on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in Washington.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testifies during a House Committee on Education and Workforce hearing on Capitol Hill on May 7 in Washington.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP
Federal Arming Teachers Could Cause 'Accidents and More Tragedy,' Miguel Cardona Says
"This is not in my opinion a smart option,” the education secretary said at an EdWeek event.
4 min read
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during Education Week’s 2024 Leadership Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., on May 2, 2024.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during Education Week’s 2024 Leadership Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., on May 2, 2024.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Federal Opinion Should Migrant Families Pay Tuition for Public School?
The answer must reflect an outlook that is pro-immigration, pro-compassion, and pro-law and order, writes Michael J. Petrilli.
Michael J. Petrilli
4 min read
Image of a pencil holder filled with a variety of colored pencils that match the background with international flags.
Laura Baker/Education Week via Canva