March 20th, 2009
12:02 PM ET
5 years ago

Americans OK losing some control of education for more money

 A new poll suggests Americans would take more federal money for education, even if it meant handing over control.
A new poll suggests Americans would take more federal money for education, even if it meant handing over control.

WASHINGTON (CNN) –  A new national poll indicates that most Americans would be willing to give up some control of their public schools to the federal government in return for more money from Washington for those schools.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday say they would like to see more federal money spent on the public schools in their communities, even if it meant increased influence by the federal government over the education policies those schools follow, with 43 percent opposed.

"There are big differences between Republicans and Democrats, but the most interesting gap is between mothers and fathers of children under 18," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Seventy-two percent of mothers favor more government influence over local schools in exchange for more money. Only about half of all fathers feel the same way. People with no children under 18 are split on the concept, with 53 percent  favoring that idea and 46 percent opposing."

The poll also suggests that Americans don't favor longer school days, but they do think the school year should be longer. Fifty-seven percent support increasing the number of days that students spend in school each year, but 55 percent oppose increasing the number of hours that students spend in school each day.

The public is split on whether teachers should get more money if their students do better on tests, known as merit pay. Fifty percent like that idea and 48 percent dislike it.

"Mothers and fathers disagree on merit pay as well," Holland notes. "Most fathers of children under 18 think it is a good idea. Most mothers do not."

President Barack Obama’s vision for education reform include expanded merit pay for teachers, an idea long opposed by teachers unions.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted March 12-15, with 1,019 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: Education • Polls • Uncategorized
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Jon in CA

    Exactly why my kids go to a private Christian school!!

    You people who are willing to hand your children's education over to the same organization that handled Katrina??

    You get what you deserve.

    March 20, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Mobius

    Poll 1100 Americans and post those results as REPRESENTATIVE for over 300 million of us?

    Who's supposed to believe THAT new math?!?

    March 20, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Obama Victim

    do you really want the party in power setting the agenda in your local school............at some point, the party you oppose will have the White House..............do you really want your kids indoctrinated with their philosophy...................never good to sell your soul

    March 20, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. Voter

    Giving new meaning to the phrase, "greedy tots."

    March 20, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Some Guy

    Mobius, you are obviously ignorant of how an overall trend can be extrapolated from a random sample. It's called statistics and it works quite well in all sorts of applications.

    March 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Not a good idea to have the government in charge of the cirriculum. Undoubtedly, the party in power will dictate their philosophy.

    Both sides should be presented. Challenge the student to make up his or her mind.

    March 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Ian

    Can anyone explain why it makes sense for us to pay for even more beaurocracy? Think about it. Each state pays the federal government, they pay their beaurocrats in the department of education, then the money gets handed off to each of the states beaurocrats, and then to each districts beaurocrats. Wouldn't it make more sense to just decrease our taxes. The money wouldn't need to leave the state and "trickle down".

    March 20, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. turn TEXAS BLUE

    well for some of the people who impose!!! Some schools are not all fairy tale,( hand Lil jimmy his power ranger lunchbox and let him get on the bus to go 5ft. to school)
    they need funding for the building, school, teachers, teacher aid's, and much more. And the education system is like many americans right now.... they are willing to give one arm to have a job, or one leg to keep their home, or better yet a eye to put their kids through college. Think about it people and stop being so close minded!!!!

    March 20, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Mel

    Schools in other countries have the exact same problem as the United States schools. They are underfunded, undersupplied, have security problems, inattentive children, and lazy parents, yet they have a better education system than the United States. The problem is not money, the problem is the teachers who are too willing to make excuses for why they can't teach.

    When I was in school when I was a teenager and having trouble in mathematics, the teacher skipped lunch to tutor me. You don't see that anymore. But they're sure willing to point fingers on why they can't teach their students.

    I'd rather students go to public schools than to a private Christian school to be brainwashed, especially since Christian schools in this country seem to utterly refuse to teach proper science to its student.

    No student should ever graduate from high school thinking that science says we came from monkeys when it doesn't.

    I agree with incentive bonus' because maybe it will make the teachers do their jobs for a change.

    And I have no problem with government involvement with public schools because they are PUBLIC schools. If you don't want government involvement, put them in private schools. Public schools mean different standards and it means that they can't break the law by censorship or anything else.

    March 20, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  10. George Carlins got to be laughing

    Teach the little morons and kick each teacher in the head.

    March 20, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. Lauralie

    Fools! And what will you do when the "more money" is not spent on things your local school actually needs?
    This is why our kids are in private school. Tuition buys a certain amount of leverage you can't get in the public babysitting-factory schools

    March 20, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Lauralie

    Hey, how about you get a published list of how many legislators and corporate CEO's send their kids to public schools. I will bet it's a small list.

    March 20, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Patrick - Indianapolis

    I'm a product of the public school system and I also have to college degrees. School can give you as much as you choose to take from it. Or it might be that our genes are starting to spit out more stupid children. Perhaps parents need to do a better job of paying attention to their children. Also, maybe its not such a bad idea to let kids be kids and stop putting them on a pedestal. What do I know? I'm just a product of our public school system.

    March 20, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Jackie in Dallas

    And we aren't paying for more bureauracy left over from the Bush administration? What about Homeland Security? They do NOTHING that isn't already in the job descriptions of the FBI, CIA, military intel, and various other agencies.

    I think, basically, what I would like to see is what is meant by more federal influence on our schools. Does that mean that only government approved courses and books will be used? HECK, NO. Does is mean that evolution is taught as the scientific explanation of the diversity of nature? HECK, YES. Does it mean better emphasis on sciences and the arts? Again, YES. Does it mean teachers can stop having to use their personal income to buy critical school supplies because the teacher's union has said that kids that are disadvantaged will not use them correctly? Again, YES.

    Context, CNN. We need to see this in the context in which the poll was taken before we can make a good judgement.

    Oh, Jon in CA: just in case you haven't noticed, this ISN'T the same government that handled Katrina. Not even the same agency. FEMA, with President Bush's buddie Brown in charge, mangled the effort after Katrina, and Bush said, "good job, Brownie". Of course, since he was hanging out in Crawford while people drowned, suffered from thirst, hunger and emotional trama, that was pretty appropriate of him. I doubt, somehow, that FEMA would be put in charge of something to do with education.

    March 20, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. RSR

    This 'Socializing' of our schools will open the door to this false teaching...'Islam is a loving, peaceful religion tolerant of all religions.'

    March 20, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Bob in Pa

    This njational poll was probably taken in all the troubled inner city school districts.

    March 20, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. rodlang

    Washington, DC spends of $12,000.00 per year on each student, yet DC has maybe the lowest achieving students in the country. The problem isn't lack of money, its unstable family environments. Parents are the key to a good education, not the government.

    March 20, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. jmcguire new haven conn 06511

    Bad joke Mr President, another GAFFE! My beautiful daughter was 15 months old when she received a vacine, resulting in her going into a convulsion, high fever and hospitalization. she has brain disfunction, needed special schooling, and twenty four hour a day, seven days a week care. She is now forty three years old, and I provide her with all of her personal daily needs. Mr President no more bad jokes it hurts.

    Jane B. McGuire

    March 20, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Luke

    I went to Catholic Grade School, Catholic High School, and a Catholic University. Guess what, my friends all went to public schools and they are making as much or even more than me. Then again, they lived in the suburbs and i lived in CHICAGO, you do not want to go to public school there. Only thing you will learn is how to sell weed and gang bang. My point is, Public School is not a bad thing it 100% depends on where you live and the quality of the actual school.

    March 20, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. drh

    Well, I think the first post sums up the education problem in America. Patrick in Indianapolis is a product of the public school system and has "to" college degrees. I wonder if that is kind of like having "two" degrees. Either way, probably "too" many degrees for him.

    And I definitely agree with the post that the government shouldn't bee in charge of the "cirriculum," because there is no such thing. Even in this little box I am typing in, it is underlined red meaning it is misspelled!

    March 20, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Ken, Pisgah Forest NC

    We live in a different world compared to 50 years ago, yet we have the same education system. National boundaries are meaningless lines on maps today. We did a poor job of teaching our children back then that education is a competition and the best educated person wins. Now, instead of a local competition, it is worldwide. We need drastic change in the way we educate our children if we are to be the winners and attract jobs for them. That is the goal and if merit pay and federal control over education is the best way to get their, then so be it. Local control is out of date and too many school districts (not just kids) are left behind.

    March 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Ghost

    The fact that there our over 800 comments on these two related threads, yet only 11 on the education article means either one of two things:

    1) CNN keeps these up longer either because they like to keep nonsense going or these seem to be the most popular articles or

    2) People care more about this than education. Therefore highlighting the need for more education.

    March 20, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Ghost

    Sorry, I just copied that post from the ones I posted on the Special Olympics threads.

    But you get my drift. However, judging by some of these comments, we do need to put more money into the schools. What do youguys think will happen, either party will change the the curriculum to whatever they want?

    March 20, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  24. A Nation Left Behind

    Yes! I think our school system should be national, and standards and funding need to be the same across the board. Can you imagine what our airways would be like if they were regulated locally by little pockets of aviation boards across the country. We would have a lot more air traffic accidents; flying would not at all be safe at all! On that note teachers should make just as much money as an air traffic controller and the requirements to teach should just as intense as they are for air traffic controllers.

    Yes! The school year should be longer, and the school curriculum should be fun and challenging. For once, I would like to see American kids to run circles around other countries in the areas of math and science.

    March 20, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |

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