New Poll Shows Americans Support Comprehensive NCLB Overhaul: Reaction of FairTest to ETS Survey

for further information:
Dr. Monty Neill (857) 350-8207
Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773

Despite a misleading "spin" by a company that earns more than three-quarters of a billion dollars each year by selling standardized exams, the data in a new Educational Testing Service (ETS) poll are consistent with other public opinion surveys: a majority of Americans support a comprehensive overhaul of the controversial "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) law. This is precisely the position advocated by FairTest along with 135 other national education, civil rights, religious, civic, disability, and labor groups who have signed the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB.

In fact, according to the ETS poll, a majority of the public has an "unfavorable" view of NCLB, a negative opinion that has increased over the past three years. Only when those polled are given a one-sided summary of the law, which ignores its negative impacts, does sentiment swing to supporting it. Even then, more than half of the respondents agree that NCLB requires "major changes" or "should not be reauthorized."

Criticism of NCLB is even stronger among those on the front line of education, who must deal with the law's impacts on a daily basis. Less than one fifth of public school teachers support reauthorizing NCLB without major changes.

The public, parents and school teachers agree that NCLB's focus on testing narrows curriculum and distorts educational priorities. They also criticize the law's one-size-fits-all punitive sanctions and support, instead, additional funds and assistance for schools that fall short. Overwhelming majorities oppose NCLB's requirements for state takeovers or firing teachers at low-performing schools.

The Joint Statement and the recommendations for implementing its principles by the Forum on Educational Accountability offer Congress guidance on how to implement the comprehensive overhaul of NCLB which the public clearly desires.

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The Joint Statement on NCLB, a list of its signers, and proposals from the Forum on Educational Accountability are posted at