Gallup: Americans Ambivalent Toward No Child Left Behind

A plurality of Americans don't think No Child Left Behind, the most comprehensive education legislation passed in decades, has had much effect on public education, according to a new Gallup poll. But among those who do have an opinion, more believe that it has made public education worse.
by | August 20, 2012
 

A plurality of Americans don't think No Child Left Behind, the most comprehensive education legislation passed in decades, has had much effect on public education, according to a new Gallup poll. But among those who do have an opinion, more believe that it has made public education worse.

Gallup found that 38 percent believe the law hasn't made much difference in public education, while 29 percent think it's made things worse and only 16 percent say it's made things better. The other 17 percent either didn't know enough about the law to answer or had no opinion.

The percentages are fairly consistent regardless of whether the respondent had a child in K-12 education or not and across political parties. The most notable subgroup was among those who make $30,000 or less, 22 percent of whom believe the law has made public education better. Only 15 percent of those making between $30,000 and $75,000 or $75,000 and above said the same.

The poll's authors noted that the public ambivalence toward the law "probably gives the Obama administration broad political latitude to modify NCLB through executive fiats" -- such as the waiver program that the White House started last fall. So far, 33 states have received relief from some of the law's more onerous requirements in exchange for committing to reforms set out by the administration.

The law, passed in 2001, has been overdue for reauthorization since 2007.

Governing is tracking the NCLB waiver process in the map below.

 
 
Application approved
 
Application approval pending
 
Intend to submit application
 
No application submitted

NOTE: Alaska has not submitted an application and Hawaii intends to submit one. Information is current as of July 2012.

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