For its 20th Anniversary, The Center for Education Reform Releases Nationwide Poll on The State of Education in America at "NBC News' 2013 'Education Nation' Summit at the New York Public Library"

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Survey Captures the Heartbeat of American Families on Education

Celebrating twenty years as the pioneer and leading advocate for substantive reform in education, The Center for Education Reform (CER) will release a nationwide poll at NBC News’ Education Nation Summit on Monday, October 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm. The survey demonstrates that American’s increasingly support more accountability for students and schools, and more power for parents in the process.

The Pollster who conducted the survey for CER, Kellyanne Conway, of the polling company inc./ WomanTrend, said, “Americans continue to place high value on choice, accountability and innovation in education. They believe new technologies should complement traditional learning, and support alternatives to conventional schooling. Even those without school-age children – now a large majority of Americans – view themselves as stakeholders unafraid to aim higher for America’s children.”

“As when I founded CER, I believe those who work to change the status quo and replace mediocrity with excellence are often met by resistance or calls for acquiescence by members of their own 'flock' who want us to appeal to the reason of our opponents, or government officials who have a vested interest in the status quo. We took this poll to hear what Americans really think about education. We want their voice to be heard loud and clear,” said Jeanne Allen.

Former Governor of Florida and respected education thought leader, Jeb Bush has said, “Jeanne Allen and, the Center for Education Reform both have been incredible resources both on a personal and a policy level. Jeanne and CER was involved in the education reform movement in our country before it was cool…”

Said Joel Klein, CEO of Amplify and former NYC Chancellor about Allen and CER – “You don’t do what’s easy, you don’t do what’s comfortable. You simply do what is right.”

WHAT:      POLL RELEASE by Center for Education Reform (http://www.edreform.com)
             NBC News' 2013 'Education Nation' summit at the New York Public Library

WHEN:      2:00 pm - Monday, October 7, 2013

WHERE:      Education Nation Media Room - Ground Floor
                 New York Public Library
                 Entrance is on 5th Avenue at 42nd Street

WHO:      Jeanne Allen, CER President and Founder, Center for Education Reform
                 Kellyanne Conway, President, the polling company inc./ WomanTrend

WHY:         For twenty years, the Center for Education Reform (CER) has fought for parents and children by leading the charge for fundamental, structural and substantive education reform in the United States. Well known for the highly respected Parent Power Index, CER has empowered parents by expanding choice in education and leading public policy dialogues with educational thought-leaders across the country.

POLL INFO:    At NBC News' 2013 'Education Nation' summit at the New York Public Library, CER will release new polling data it commissioned that highlights breakthrough trends in education that significantly expands the national debate concerning parental choice, teacher’s rights and compensation, innovation in teaching and learning, and trends in funding education.

Leading pollster Kellyanne Conway, who conducted the research, will present the findings at the conference. Among the findings are data concerning:

  •     The role of parents in education
  •     Choice related reforms
  •     Public School Accountability
  •     Better methods of meeting the needs of individual students
  •     Improving incorporation of technology

Nationwide Survey of 1,000 Adults in America on Education

Introduction and Methodology

The polling company ™, inc. is pleased to present to the Center for Education Reform (CER) the results and analysis of a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 adults in the United States. Interviews were conducted September 29 through October 1, 2013, at a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) facility by telephone and with live callers. At least 25% of the interviews were completed on cell phones.

Sampling controls were used to ensure that a proportional and representative number of people were interviewed from the demographic groups of age, race, gender, and region . The survey was weighted by political party self-identification only, while maintaining its demographic representativeness. The margin of error for the entire survey is +/- 3.1% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that if the survey were conducted in the same way at the same time, we would the results to be within three percentage points as the results shown here 19 out of 20 times.

The survey contained a total of 42 questions, of which two were open-ended and 12 were demographic. Several questions were repeated verbatim from an earlier survey conducted by the polling company, inc. for CER in January 2005 (800 adults nationwide; margin of error of +/- 3.5%) to allow for trending data.

Regional breakdowns:

5% NEW ENGLAND (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)
13% MID-ATLANTIC (NJ, NY, PA)
16% EAST NORTH CENTRAL (IN, IL, MI, OH, WI)
7% WEST NORTH CENTRAL (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD)
20% SOUTH ATLANTIC (DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV)
6% EAST SOUTH CENTRAL (AL, KY, MS, TN)
11% WEST SOUTH CENTRAL (AR, LA, OK, TX)
7% MOUNTAIN (AZ, CO ID, NM, MT, UT, NV, WY)
14% PACIFIC (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA)

KEY FINDINGS

  • The American People Want Power and They Want Options. A plurality of Americans says that parents should have more power over their child’s education, including access to information and data about their child’s school. Support for accountability in public schools has reached new highs: 62% favor performance pay to financially award teachers for student performance and an astounding 86% believe that school systems should have the ability to fire poorly performing teachers.

In addition to sustained support for alternatives to their assigned public schools, these data show a growing appetite for bringing educators in line with employees in other industries: those who excel are rewarded; those who fail are purged. Ultimately, we need more power for parents, for teachers, and for schools.

  • Choice Remains The Most Important Value. School choice was the highest-rated terminology we tested, followed closely by “parent choice”, with over 70% of Americans viewing those terms positively. Choice drives competition and increases quality, for parents and for the students.
  • Listening to the Child, and then Meeting His or Her Needs. When presented a series of situations in which one might consider changing from their assigned public school, majorities reported to be “likely” to make a change for academic reasons, like if the student was falling behind or wasn’t being challenged. However, only 32% would “follow the pack” and make a change if other parents were doing the same.
  • Their State Legislators are NOT Listening to Them. Most Americans realize that the state government has a major role to play in education funding, despite constant attempts to “pass the buck” to Washington D.C. More importantly, most Americans aren’t happy with how their state legislature is handling school issues, and they are making their voices heard. Two-thirds (65%) rate their job as “fair” or “poor”, and the most likely action Americans say they would take to effect change is to contact their state legislator.
  • Overall, Americans Want Power, Access To Data, School Choice, and an Organization That Promotes Those Goals. Americans agree with the central premise of CER that more educational choice leads to a more choice education. In fact, 81% have a favorable opinion of an organization that “promotes more educational choice for parents and students and more accountability for schools and teachers”.

On its 20th Anniversary, CER has proven that its focus on choice and accountability has had a positive impact on parents and students alike, and that there is more work to do to sustain, expand and burnish this legacy of impact. Merging technology and traditional learning, engaging the entire spectrum of stakeholders thoughtfully and optimistically, and respectfully presenting the facts and figures, the progress and the promise, increases consumer demand.

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Alexandra Preate
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