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This report presents data from a January 2003 national public opinion poll that examined what voting-age Americans valued about public education and wanted their elected leaders to do to raise academic achievement for all children. It analyzes data on 800 voters with an oversample of 125 registered African Americans and 125 registered Latino voters, also including information from focus groups with African Americans, Latinos, and whites, with and without children. Results indicate that education remains a top priority for voters despite concerns over conflict with Iraq, the threat of international terrorism, rising medical insurance costs, and growing unemployment. Republicans and Democrats alike rated education above health care, national security, Social Security, and job creation. All voters, regardless of party affiliation, age, race, and other demographic characteristics, offered significantly more support for tax increases if the additional revenue was earmarked for education. The public supported the No Child Left Behind Act and its effort to improve education. Voters recognized that quality education requires adequate resources and wanted their state legislators to take an active role in ensuring that sufficient funds are available to schools. Respondents believed that teachers are the key to improving school performance, and there must be improvement in their pay, prestige, power, and preparation. (SM)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Educational Quality, Elementary Secondary Education, Minority Groups, Politics of Education, Public Education, Public Opinion, Voting

Public Education Network, 601 Thirteenth Street, N.W., Suite 900 North, Washington, DC 20005-3808. Tel: 202-628-7460; Fax: 202-628-1893; Web site:

Autor: Public Education Network, Washington, DC.; Editorial Projects in Education, Inc., Washington, DC.


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