FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BURLINGAME – A new, national poll shows the public is saying what California’s public school teachers have been warning for a long time – the federal No Child Left Behind law is flawed for punishing schools that need help the most, for its reliance on high-stakes testing, and for not looking at a student’s overall performance to measure academic progress, among numerous other concerns.
“The nation’s growing frustrations with No Child Left Behind are reflected in this poll,” said Barbara E. Kerr, president of the 335,000-member California Teachers Association. “They’re the same frustrations that teachers and parents have expressed in our local classrooms for the last few years. Rather than helping all students succeed, this flawed federal law punishes those schools that need help the most.”
Released Tuesday, the 38th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools also shows strong public support for educators and neighborhood public schools across the country. Some of the findings on how the public feels about No Child Left Behind (NCLB):
• Four out of five respondents (80%) prefer offering help to students in schools in need of improvement. Only 17% prefer transferring those students to a different school.
• Sixty-nine percent of those polled say that the use of a single state test as NCLB requires cannot provide a fair picture of whether or not a school needs improvement.
• Four-fifths of respondents (81%) say the proper measure of performance should be the improvement made by students during the school year.
• NCLB bases performance on testing in English/language arts and math only. Four out of five respondents (81%) say that this will not give a fair picture of a school and that other subjects should be included.
• Nearly four out of five respondents (78%) say they are concerned that the focus on English/language arts and math will mean less emphasis on art, music, history, and other subjects.
• The test scores of special education students are included in determining whether a school is in need of improvement under NCLB rules. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) say the scores of special education students should not be included.
The full report on the poll is at http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/k0609pol.htm#major.