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    Education  (p. 3)


Data are from nationwide surveys of Americans 18 & older, except where noted.


Priorities for School

Shell Oil Company Shell Poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates (D). July 17-20, 1998. N=1,123 adults nationwide.

.

"From what you know, to which one or two of the following goals are schools giving the most priority today? [See items below.]
"Now I'm going to read you the same list of goals and this time please tell me to which one or two of these goals you think schools should give the most priority today.
[See items below.]"

.

Up to two responses accepted
Are Giving
Priority
Should Give
Priority
% %
"Preparing students for college" 38 28
"Providing vocational skills that prepare students for employment" 28 29
"Teaching students how to reason and think well" 13 36
"Teaching students basic values, such as honesty and respect for others" 10 37
"Teaching students about government and their civic responsibilities" 9 11
None/Other (vol.) 14 1
All (vol.) 4 6
Not sure 8 1

 


Problems Facing Schools

Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll. June 5-26, 2002. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"What do you think are the biggest problems with which the public schools of your community must deal?"

Top Responses
ALL Public School Parents
% %
Lack of financial support/Funding/Money 23 23
Lack of discipline/More control 17 13
Overcrowded schools 17 23
Use of drugs/Dope 13 11
Fighting/Violence/Gangs 9 9
Difficulty getting good teachers/Quality teachers 8 8

 

CBS News Poll. April 22, 1999. N=450 adults nationwide.
.
"What do you think is the biggest problem in schools today?"
4/22/99 4/13-14/99
ALL Parents Non-
Parents
ALL
% % % %
Discipline/Lack of discipline 25 20 29 21
Violence 14 19 9 5
Lack of parental involvement 12 7 15 7
Teachers 10 14 7 15
Quality of education 8 7 8 17
Weapons/Guns/Knives 8 10 7 1
Drugs 3 3 4 11
Overcrowding 3 4 2 3
Gangs 1 1 1 1
Peer pressure 1 1 0 1
Other 5 7 7 10
Don't know/No answer 10 7 11 8

 


Social Promotion

Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll. May 18-June 11, 1999. N=1,103 adults nationwide.

.

"Social promotion means moving children from grade to grade in order to keep them with others in their own age group. Would you favor stricter standards for social promotion in school even if it meant that significantly more students would be held back?"
ALL Public School Parents
% %
Favor 72 75
Oppose 26 24
Don't know 2 1

 


Standards

Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll. May 18-June 11, 1999. N=1,103 adults nationwide.

.

"In your opinion, are student achievement standards in the public schools in your community too high, about right, or too low?"
ALL Public School Parents
% %
Too high 6 9
About right 57 60
Too low 33 30
Don't know 4 1

 


Students

Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs. April 16-18, 2004. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE 3.1.

.

"As you may know, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling that required schools to be integrated -- that is, that black and white children must be brought together into the same schools. How good a job do you think public schools are doing of serving all children equally, regardless of race . . . ?"

.

Excellent
Job
Good
Job
Not-So-
Good Job
Poor
Job
Not
Sure
  % % % % %
4/04 14 52 20 12 2

.

"Do you feel that school integration has improved the quality of education received by black students, or not?"

.

Has Has Not Not
Sure
  % % %    
4/04 72 25 3

.

"Do you feel that school integration has improved the quality of education received by white students, or not?"

.

Has Has Not Not
Sure
  % % %    
4/04 50 45 5

.

"In public schools today, how much opportunity do black students have for success: more opportunity than white students, about the same opportunity as white students, or less opportunity than white students?"

.

More About the
Same
Less Not
Sure
  % % % %  
4/04 15 65 18 2

.

"In public schools today, how much opportunity do Hispanic students have for success: more opportunity than white students who are not Hispanic, about the same opportunity as white students who are not Hispanic, or less opportunity than white students who are not Hispanic?"

.

More About the
Same
Less Not
Sure
  % % % %  
4/04 11 62 25 2

.

"In your view, which of the following is better? Letting students go to the local school in their community, even if it means that most of the students would be the same race. Transferring students to other schools to create more integration, even if it means that some students would have to travel out of their communities to go to school."

.

Local
Schools
Other
Schools
Not
Sure
  % % %    
4/04 78 19 3

.

"Whether you have a child in school right now or not, in general, which type of school would you prefer for your child: one where the students are mostly of the same race as your child; one where the students are mostly mixed, with children from black, white, Hispanic, and other racial and ethnic groups; or one where the students are mostly of a different race as your child?"

.

Mostly
Same
Mostly
Mixed
Mostly
Different
Not
Sure
  % % % %  
4/04 12 83 2 3

 


Teachers

Gallup Poll. Aug. 24-26, 1999. N=540 adults nationwide. MoE 5.

.

"Thinking about public school in kindergarten through grade 12, do you think salaries for public school teachers in your community are too high, too low or just about right?"

%
Too high 7
Too low 56
About right 35
No opinion 2

 

Democratic Leadership Council Blueprint Poll conducted by Penn Schoen & Berland Associates. June 17-20, 1999. N=502 adults nationwide. MoE 4.4 (total sample).

.

ALL Demo-
crats
Repub-
licans
Indepen-
dents
% % % %
"Paying teachers not based on seniority, but based on the value that they bring to the classrooms, as measured by improvements in their students' test scores. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this proposal?"
Strongly support 66 60 65 73
Somewhat support 18 19 14 19
Somewhat oppose 8 4 14 5
Strongly oppose 6 14 5 2
Don't know 2 3 2 1

.

"Offer alternative teacher certification, based on a teacher's abilities rather than their degrees or credentials. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this proposal?"
Strongly support 47 48 57 41
Somewhat support 33 25 30 40
Somewhat oppose 11 13 7 12
Strongly oppose 6 7 3 6
Don't know 4 6 4 -

.

"Empowering schools to remove low-performing teachers fairly but easily. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this proposal?"
Strongly support 65 70 65 63
Somewhat support 27 20 30 29
Somewhat oppose 3 4 2 4
Strongly oppose 3 3 1 4
Don't know 2 4 2 0

.

"Establishing a national teacher corps, through which people would spend four years as public school teachers in disadvantaged school districts, in exchange for college tuition. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this proposal?"
Strongly support 39 47 25 40
Somewhat support 38 29 53 38
Somewhat oppose 11 13 10 12
Strongly oppose 7 10 5 6
Don't know 4 1 7 4

.

"Testing all teachers periodically to make sure they are competent and qualified to teach. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose this proposal?"
Strongly support 83 83 85 82
Somewhat support 11 7 11 14
Somewhat oppose 2 2 3 2
Strongly oppose 2 5 1 1
Don't know 1 4 0 1

.

"Do you think that the quality of our teachers is a problem in the public schools, or not?"
Yes 60 55 64 63
No 34 39 31 34
Don't know 6 7 5 4

.

"Do you think that schools should have the ability to remove low performing teachers, or not?"
Yes 95 93 97 95
No 5 6 3 4
Don't know 1 1 - 1

 


U.S. vs. Foreign Schools

Shell Oil Company Shell Poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates (D). July 17-20, 1998. N=1,123 adults nationwide.

.

"Where do you think that American public schools rank when compared with schools in the other advanced industrial countries of the world? Are U.S. schools among the best, above average, average, below average, or among the worst?"

%
Among the best 5
Above average 14
Average 37
Below average 31
Among the worst 7
Not sure 6

 


Violence

Gallup Poll. Aug. 13-16, 2007. N=277 parents nationwide with children in grades K-12. MoE 7.

.

"Thinking about your oldest child, when he or she is at school, do you fear for his or her physical safety?"

.

Yes No Unsure
% % %

8/13-16/07

24 76 -

10/6-8/06

35 65 -

8/7-10/06

25 75 -
3/9-11/01 45 54 1
8/00 26 74 0
4/00 43 57 0
8/99 47 53 -
5/99 52 47 1
4/26-27/99 49 51 -
4/21/99 55 45 0
6/98 37 62 1

.

"Have any of your school-aged children expressed any worry or concern about feeling unsafe at their school when they go back to school this fall?"

.

Yes No Unsure
% % %

8/13-16/07

12 87 1

10/6-8/06

12 88 -

8/7-10/06

11 87 2

 

Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll. March 9-11, 2001. N=1,015 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"Thinking about the recent shootings at schools: In your opinion, how likely is it that these kinds of shootings could happen in your community? Is it very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely?"

.

%
Very likely 31
Somewhat likely 34
Somewhat unlikely 20
Very unlikely 13
Unsure 2

 

CBS News Poll. April 15-17, 2000. N=1,150 adults nationwide. MoE 3.

.

"In general, do you feel the schools in your community are extremely safe, very safe, somewhat safe, not too safe, or not at all safe?"

%
Extremely safe 8
Very safe 29
Somewhat safe 46
Not too safe 10
Not at all safe 5
Don't know 2

.

"On April 20th of last year, some high school students in Littleton, Colorado, attacked and killed some of their classmates, using guns, pipe bombs and other explosives. What do you think is the main reason why this event happened?"

%
Parents didn’t pay attention 40
Kids exposed to TV violence 8
Availability of guns 7
Lack of school attention 7
Kids' psychological problems 6
Lack of religion/moral values 5
Kids were frustrated 5
Lack of discipline 3
Peer pressure 2
Other 7
Don't know 10

.

"Which of these statements is closer to your own opinion about what will happen? (A) In the next year or so there will be more shootings by students like the one in Colorado. OR, (B) The Colorado school shooting was a random act and is not likely to be repeated anywhere else in the near future."

%
There will be more shootings 72
It's not likely to be repeated 22
Don't know 6

.

"Do you think we've learned from tragedies like the Colorado high school shooting and can prevent similar things from happening in the future, or not?"

%
Can prevent 56
Cannot prevent 37
Don't know 7

 

Gallup/CNN/USA Today Poll. April 7-9, 2000. N=1,006 adults nationwide. MoE 3 (total sample).

.

"As you may know, it has been nearly one year since the shooting at Columbine High School, the Littleton, Colorado, school where two students killed 12 of their classmates and one teacher. In your opinion, how likely is it that these kinds of shootings could happen in your community? Is it very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely?"

%
Very likely 30
Somewhat likely 36
Somewhat unlikely 18
Very unlikely 13
No opinion 3

.

"Which of the following statements comes closer to your overall view? [rotate] Government and society can take action that will be effective in preventing shootings like the one in Colorado from happening again. OR, Shootings like the one in Colorado will happen again regardless of what action is taken by government and society."

%
Action can be effective 47
Shootings will happen regardless 49
No opinion 4

.

Asked of people with children in grades K-12 (N=291; MoE +/- 6):
"Specifically as a result of the shooting at Columbine, would you say you feel [rotate] much more concerned about your child’s safety today than you did before, or somewhat more concerned, or about the same, or somewhat less concerned, or much less concerned about your child’s safety today than you did before?"

%
Much more concerned 40
Somewhat more concerned 30
About the same 28
Somewhat less concerned 1
Much less concerned 1

.

Asked of people with children in grades K-12 (N=291; MoE +/- 6):
"Thinking about the school or schools your children attend, would you say your schools have gone too far, have not gone far enough, or are doing the right amount to prevent acts of school violence from occurring?"

%
Too far 4
Not far enough 28
Right amount 68

 

Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll. May 18-June 11, 1999. N=1,103 adults nationwide.

.

"Thinking about the public schools in your community, how would you describe the learning environment for students in those schools: very safe and orderly, somewhat safe and orderly, not very safe and orderly, or not at all safe and orderly?"
ALL Public School Parents
% %
Very 24 30
Somewhat 62 62
Not very 7 5
Not at all 3 2
Don't know 4 1

 

Associated Press Poll conducted by ICR. April 28-May 2, 1999. N=1,006 adults nationwide.

.

"Which one of the following measures do you think would be the most effective way to stop violence in schools? . . ."

  %
"Reducing violence in TV shows and movies" 27
"Putting metal-detectors in schools" 23
"Increasing counseling for teens" 21
"Passing stricter gun laws" 10
"Restricting Internet content" 9
None of the above 7
Don't know 4

.

"Thinking about the shootings last week at a Colorado high school, please tell me which one of these do you think is most to blame. . . ."

%
"The boys' parents" 39
"Availability of guns" 24
"Television and movies" 14
"The Internet" 8
"School officials" 4
None of the above 6
Don't know 4

 

Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. April 29-30, 1999. N=751 adults nationwide, including 162 parents of children ages 12-18.

.

"As a result of the violence in Littleton, Colorado, how important do you think it is for this country to do each of the following? As a result of the violence in Littleton, how important is it for this country to [see below]: very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?"
Very Some-
what
Not
Too
Not At
All
Don't
Know
% % % % %
"Pay more attention to teenagers and their problems"
ALL 89 9 - 1 1
Parents 90 8 1 1 -

.

"Pass stricter gun control laws"
ALL 64 14 9 11 2
Parents 67 13 6 12 2

.

"Reduce violence in the media"
ALL 61 24 8 5 2
Parents 69 20 6 4 1

.

ALL Parents
% %
"Based on what you know about the teens responsible for the violence in Littleton, are there any teens now attending your own local schools that you suspect might be capable of armed violence?"
Yes 28 34
No 40 46
Don't know 32 20

.

"Do you think most parents, only some parents, or very few parents are able to tell whether their own teenage children are capable of committing a crime?"
Most 21 22
Only some 37 42
Very few 38 34
Don't know 4 2

.

"Do you think most parents, only some parents, or very few parents really know what their teens are up to?"
Most 13 15
Only some 38 33
Very few 47 51
Don't know 2 1

.

"Do you think there are some teens who are such trouble that even parents who give them enough attention can't control them?"
Yes 86 85
No 11 11
Don't know 3 4

 

The Gallup Poll. April 26-27, 1999. N=1,073 adults nationwide.

.

This question asked of people with children in grades K-12:
"As far as you know, have you heard of any students at your child's school making copycat threats to do things similar to what happened in Littleton, Colorado, or not?"
%
Have heard 11
Have not 89

.

"In your opinion, do you think criminal charges should or should not be filed against the parents of the students involved in the Littleton deaths -- or are you unsure?"
%
Should be 25
Should not be 26
Unsure 48
No opinion 1

.

"From what you have seen, heard, or read about, please tell me whether you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the way in which the news media is covering the Littleton situation?"
%
Favorable 55
Unfavorable 40
No opinion 5

 

ABC News/Washington Post Poll. April 22-25, 1999. N=500 high school teenagers and 522 parents of high school teenagers nationwide.
.
Students Parents
% %
"In your opinion, is violence at your high school* a very serious problem, somewhat serious, not too serious or not much of a problem at all?"
Wording for parents: "your child's high school"
Very serious 5 4
Somewhat serious 18 19
Not too serious 29 31
Not much of a problem 49 46
No opinion 0 1
.
"Would you say you personally feel very safe from violence at your school, somewhat safe, somewhat unsafe, or very unsafe?"
Very safe 42 27
Somewhat safe 47 55
Somewhat unsafe 9 14
Very unsafe 2 3
No opinion - 1
.
"How would you rate the security precautions that your school has in place to try to prevent violence there? Would you say the security at your school is excellent, good, not so good or poor?"
Excellent 12 9
Good 59 52
Not so good 19 22
Poor 10 13
No opinion - 4
.
"Do you think your school is doing enough to try to prevent violence there, or should it be doing more?"
Is doing enough 57 45
Should be doing more 42 50
No opinion 1 5
.
"As you may know, two students shot and killed several people at a high school in Littleton, Colorado, this week. What's the chance this kind of thing could happen at your school? Would you say it's very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely?"
Very likely 9 11
Somewhat likely 31 37
Somewhat unlikely 29 27
Very unlikely 29 21
No opinion 2 4
.
"Can you think of any students at your own school who you think might be troubled enough to do something like this?"
Yes 40 23
No 59 68
No opinion 2 9
.
"At your school is there any group of students who hang out together and who seem to be especially troubled, anti-social and perhaps prone to violence?"
Yes 40 24
No 58 62
No opinion 1 13
.
"Do you personally know any students who have ever brought a gun to your school, or not?"
Yes 20 13
No 79 83
No opinion 1 3
.
Students who answered "Yes" to preceding question: "Did you report it to a teacher or some other adult, or not?"
Did report it 16
Did not 83
No opinion 1
.
"Have you ever heard a student at your school threaten to kill someone, or not?"
Yes 32
No 67
No opinion 1
.
"Has anyone at your high school ever threatened to kill you, or not?"
Yes 5
No 95
.
"At your school, do you often feel like an outcast, or not?"
Yes 7
No 92

.

"Are there any students in your school who you would consider to be neo-Nazis or skinheads, or not?"
Yes 21 13
No 77 72
No opinion 2 15

 


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