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Report: Hoosiers Differ on Quality of Education

The No Child Left Behind Act gets varying treatment from Hoosiers in the sixth annual study of the public’s perception of statewide education compiled by Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. The law has been bashed by teachers and political leaders alike, but study co-author Nathan Burroughs says those Hoosiers who consume the most news see it differently.

“The more information that a Hoosier is getting about the news generally,” Burroughs said, “the more likely it was they think NCLB is having a positive effect.”

Respondents to the survey were categorized, in part, by how many sources of news they pay attention to. Those who said they got their news from multiple sources were more likely to believe in the No Child Left Behind Act — legislation which has been broadly panned in the media by teachers and politicians alike. At the same time, a larger number of people who took the survey in 2008 say the law hurts American education than those in the survey’s 2007 pool of respondents.

The report also shows Hoosiers are willing to pay higher taxes for better schools and a majority thinks the state should take control of schools whose students don’t meet minimum scores on standardized tests. CEEP Associate Director Terry Spradlin says he sees patience with education growing thin…

“Category placements of public schools have been publicly announced now for about three or four years running,” Spralin said. “So I think people are losing patience, the numbers seem to suggest to me that just providing more money for public education to improve the underperforming schools will be enough. They seem to want – or are willing to consider — other options to improve public education or provide options to students than to provide more money to the existing school.”

The report indicates a majority of Hoosiers polled believe the state — which is already responsible for school funding — should assume full control of schools whose students continue to score poorly on standardized tests. Respondents also say they’re willing to pay higher taxes if it means schools in the state get better. At the same time, 54% of those polled say schools in the state rate as either “excellent” or “good” and an even larger number – 63% of respondents — say they believe their local public schools are better than what they perceive the state average to be.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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