Poll: How Americans Grade The School System

IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED
      In general, how would you rate the quality of American public 
      schools--excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?
      
      Excellent        3%
      Pretty good     36%
      Only fair       36%
      Poor            23%
      Not sure         2%
      A DIRECT STAKE
      Do you have a child or grandchild who is currently
      attending or has attended U.S. public schools in the past five
      years, or not?
      Yes     52%
      No      47%
      Not sure 1%
      
      FAMILY REPORT
      (If yes:) How would you rate the quality of those schools--excellent, pretty 
      good, only fair, or poor?
      
      Excellent   16%
      Pretty good 44%
      Only fair   29%
      Poor        10%
      Not sure     1%
      
      NEIGHBORS' VIEW
      (If no:) How would you rate the quality of the public schools in your local 
      community--excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?
      
      Excellent   12%
      Pretty good 43%
      Only fair   25%
      Poor        17%
      Not sure     3%
      
      WHAT'S GOING WRONG
      Within the public school system, is each of the following a very serious 
      problem, a somewhat serious problem, not a very serious problem, or not a 
      problem at all?
      
                        Very  Somewhat  Not very Not a  Not
                      serious  serious   serious problem sure
      A lack of parental involvement with children's education
                          56%     26%        9%      6%    3%
      A shortage of teachers
                          37%     23%       18%     18%    4%
      An insufficiently challenging curriculum
                         33%     31%       16%     13%    7%
      Too many administrative rules governing individual schools
                         25%     37%       22%      9%    7%
      A lack of up-to-date computers and equipment
                         24%     30%       24%     16%    6%
      
      A short school year18%     24%       25%     28%    5%
      
      SCHOOL BUCKS
      Even if it might mean higher taxes, would you favor spending more money on your 
      community's public schools, or would you favor spending less or about the same 
      amount of money?
      
      More       47%
      
      Less        8%
      About the
      same       43%
      
      Not sure    2%
      
      LEVELING THE LEARNING FIELD
      Now I'd like to read you a series of statements about public school education 
      in this country. Tell me whether you agree or disagree with each statement.
      
                          Agree  Disagree Not sure
      School districts that decide to raise more money to pay for better schools 
      should be allowed to do so
                             86%    13%       1%
      
      Children should be able to attend any school they qualify for, including 
      public, parochial, or private schools, with government money going to poor or 
      middle-income children attending private or parochial
      schools
                            69%    29%        2%
      
      Children should be able to attend the public school of their choice, including 
      one out of their district, with government money going to the school they attend
                            63%    35%        2%
      
      To ensure more equal spending among districts, financing of the public school 
      system should be taken out of the hands of local government and moved toward 
      federal or state governments
                            43%    52%         5%
      
      Most of the money for schools should continue to come from local
      taxes, not state or federal taxes
                             41%    56%         3%
      
      BACK TO BASICS
      Do you favor or oppose each of the following proposed changes to the curriculum 
      in public schools?
                                        Not
                           Favor Oppose sure
      
      Putting more emphasis on teaching tougher, more challenging basics such
      
      as reading, writing, math, and science
                          96%        3%    1%
      
      Teaching more practical skills that can be used in the work force
                          92%        7%    1%
      
      Raising requirements for passing courses and graduating
                           80%       18%    2%
      
      Teaching more about foreign countries and languages
                           71%       27%    2%
      
      Teaching a broader, more enriched curriculum, including more arts and music
                          67%       32%    1%
      
      TEACHERS' PAYCHECKS
      Bearing in mind that they are paid out of taxes, do you think public school 
      teachers are paid enough, too little, or too much?
      
      Enough             35%
      Too little         55%
      Too much            6%
      Not sure            4%
      
      THE EDUCATION PRESIDENT?
      Who do you think would do a better job of improving education in this country 
      if elected President--President Bush or Governor Clinton?
      
      Bush     35%
      Clinton  49%
      Not sure 16%
      
      Survey of 1,250 adults conducted Aug. 26-31, 1992, for BUSINESS WEEK by Louis 
      Harris & Associates Inc. Results should be accurate to within 3 percentage 
      points.
      

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