Polls: Teachers Reject NCLB

K-12 Testing

Two new national surveys of educators' attitudes toward the federal No Child Left Behind law demonstrate the depth of opposition to NCLB in its current form. One poll, conducted by Teachers Network, a nonprofit organization of teachers focusing on professional development, found just 1% of those polled believe NCLB is "effective way to assess the quality of schools." The other, a survey of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development's (ASCD) 178,000 members, also found widespread dissatisfaction with NCLB, including 94% of respondents saying NCLB needs more than minor adjustment if it is to help and not harm schools.


Teachers Network surveyed 5,600 public school teachers from every state recently, asking a series of questions about NCLB's influence on teaching and learning. Among the striking results was the clear message that teachers do not see NCLB as improving what goes on in the classroom. Forty-two percent said NCLB-mandated tests are "not at all" helpful to their teaching. More than 40% said NCLB's testing encourages rote drill, and 44% said the result has been the elimination of non-tested curriculum material. With public school systems nationwide facing severe teacher shortages, it is significant that the survey found 69% of survey respondents "strongly agree" that NCLB has contributed to teacher burnout.


ASCD is a widely respected group representing teachers, principals, superintendents and professors. It surveyed 3,000 members, half of whom said they agree with NCLB's core elements but believe it needs significant changes. Nearly a third said the entire bill needs to be overhauled. As a result, ASCD has made improving NCLB to close the achievement gap one of its legislative priorities for the coming year. ASCD is one of the 118 national groups that have signed the Joint Organizational Statement on NCLB (see "Burgeoning Support for Joint Statement on NCLB," this issue).


- For more information on The Teachers Network, see http://www.teachersnetwork.org/
- ASCD's web site is http://www.ascd.org/