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Fairtest Lauds New Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll Showing Public Strongly Opposes "No Child Left Behind" Testing Scheme

A major, new survey of public opinion demonstrates that a majority of Americans disagree with the basic approach of the federal
government's mandatory school testing program, according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). The 35th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released this morning at a National Press Club news conference in Washington, D.C.

"These data show that the U.S. public overwhelmingly rejects the testing scheme falsely labeled 'No Child Left Behind,'" explained FairTest Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer. "Parents, taxpayers and community members know that politically motivated exams and flawed rating systems are not the way to achieve better schools and real
accountability."

Among the highlights of the new poll in which respondents reject the basic strategies of the federal testing law:

  • 66% of the public believe a single test cannot provide a fair picture of whether a school is in need of improvement.


  • Only 15% believe testing on English and math alone can produce a fair picture of whether or not a school is in need of improvement.


  • Just 26% believe it is possible to accurately judge a student's proficiency in English and math on the basis of a single test.


  • 80% are concerned either a great deal or a fair amount that relying only on testing in English and math to judge a school will mean less emphasis on art, music, history and other subjects.


  • When offered options for dealing with a school in need of improvement, 74% endorsed making additional efforts to help students
    achieve in their present school while 25% chose offering student the opportunity to transfer to another school.


  • 66% believe the emphasis of NCLB on standardized testing will encourage teachers to teach to the tests, and 60% believe this would be a bad thing.


  • "Across the U.S., this sentiment is forging a strong, bipartisan national movement to overturn politically motivated testing mandates
    that undermine equity and educational quality, and replace them with accountability systems that actually help improve school quality,"
    FairTest's Schaeffer continued. "Earlier this summer, California officials had to back down from a plan to require members of the current
    senior class to pass a test in order to graduate in the face of strong public pressure. Federal policy makers who continue to support NCLB need to heed this message."
    - - 3 0 - -

    A FairTest position statement, "Why 'No Child Left Behind' Will Fail Our Children," is available at

    http://www.fairtest.org/nattest/NCLB_Position_Statement.html

    — Fairtest



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