Importance of public education in American

Education Next is a journal of opinion and research about education policy.

The 2007 Education Next—PEPG Survey

By William G. Howell, Martin R. West and Paul E. Peterson

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Fall 2007 / Vol. 7, No. 4

Americans both care about their schools and want them to improve. Though adults give the nation’s public schools only mediocre grades—a plurality confer a “C”—they are willing to invest more money in public education and they are reasonably confident that doing so will improve student learning. They are also open to a host of school reforms ranging from high-stakes student accountability to merit pay for teachers to school vouchers and tax credits that would give low-income families greater access to private schools. By sizable margins, they back reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the federal law that mandates school accountability.

The public, however, also appears selective in its desire for change. Americans balk at some market-based reforms, such as paying more for teachers who work in fields like math and science, where quality teachers are in scarce supply. And substantial percentages remain undecided about charter schools and other reform initiatives, suggesting that the current national debate over school policy has the potential to sway public opinion in one direction or another.

All this—and more—is indicated by a new national survey of U.S. adults conducted under the auspices of Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance (PEPG) at Harvard University. (For survey methodology, see sidebar) Here we report the opinions of both the public at large and three ethnic subgroups (whites, African Americans, and Hispanics). We also distinguish the views of those who have worked for the public schools from those who have not. Except for opinions on school choice issues, differences across ethnic groups are generally smaller than those between public school employees and those who have never been employed by the schools. Responses to survey questions are provided at the bottom of the ensuing pages.

Accountability

2007q2-3Perhaps the most popular school reforms are those that hold students and schools to account for their performance. Accountability policies take many forms, but the public generally supports the concept in all its guises, including the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

No Child Left Behind

On the most high-profile issue of the day—the debate over extending the life of NCLB—a majority of those polled indicate that they support the law’s reauthorization with no more than minor changes (see Figure 1). NCLB requires states to establish performance standards in math and reading; to test students against those standards annually in grades 3 to 8 and again when students are in high school; and to intervene in schools that fail to make adequate annual progress toward the goal of near-universal student proficiency by 2014. The 2002 law is scheduled for reauthorization this year.

Despite NCLB’s bipartisan origins, controversy has beset the statute ever since its passage. The law places unprecedented demands on the states, several of which have passed resolutions critical of it. Reporting on recent grass-roots efforts to overturn the law, Time magazine noted that “more than 30, 000 educators and concerned citizens have signed an online petition calling for the repeal of the 1, 100 page statute.”

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FAQ

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Why did reformers believe public education was important?

Reformers wanted change. Education opens up a lot of doors for people, and allows for much more intelligent ideas to be produced. By educating people, it sets a standard.

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Why was a public education important to immigrants?

Educating immigrants is important because, the more educated you are the more money you make. The more money you make, the more taxes you pay. The higher the income of workers, the wealthier the jurisdiction and the more services.

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How important is public education to America? Why did Thomas Jefferson consider it so important? | Yahoo Answers

Education is vital to America. An educated populace is critical to the survival of a Representative Republic.
Public education, as it exists today, is as much a tool for a political/social ideology, as it is for passing knowledge on to the next generation.

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Why was tax-supported public education deemed important in America? | Yahoo Answers

There is a great book by Diane Ravitch called "Left Back" that explains some of this. Government schools are definitely a failed experiment. Charter and private schools get better results with far less money.
The original idea was to give everyone equal access to education. Unfortunately, the schools became a breeding ground for leftist radicals and a way for the Democrats to perpetuate their failed ideas and to suppress the original purpose and meaning of the U.S. Constitution.
Deep down the Dems know all this. That is why they fight so hard against vouchers, which would allow people…

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