Poll Shows Strong Support for Improving Science Education

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NEWS STATEMENT

CONTACT:

Chad Colby, (202) 419-1570, ccolby@achieve.org

WASHINGTON – March 30, 2012 – A recent poll released today shows voters are virtually unanimous—97%—in believing that improving the quality of science education is important to the United States' ability to compete globally. Moreover, making sure American students receive a world-class education in math and science ranked second only to fixing the nation's financial health as a strategy for improving America's economic competitiveness with other countries. 

Speaking at the National Science Teachers Association Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Dr. Stephen Pruitt, Achieve's Vice President of Content, Research and Development, discussed the survey results and noted, "Science teachers have long understood the value to students of a high-quality science education and it's encouraging to see that voters also understand the value of a robust science education—for students as well as for our nation's ability to compete. This is exactly why 26 states have come together to develop Next Generation Science Standards."

The 26 lead state partners are guiding the standards writing process, as well as gathering feedback from state-level committees and addressing common issues and challenges. The states are also committing staff time to the initiative and, upon completion, will give serious consideration to adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. In order to be considered, states had to submit an application that included the signature of the state's Chief State School Officer and the chair of the State Board of Education.

Achieve's recently-commissioned national poll of voters—Attitudes Toward Science Education: Key Findings From A National Survey—sought to answer questions about public attitudes towards science education and found that the public strongly supports the notion of improving science education and supported the idea of states working together to create Next Generation Science Standards.

During his speech, Pruitt presented the major findings from the nation-wide survey:

  • There is virtual unanimity among voters (97%) that improving the quality of science education in our public schools is important to our country's ability to compete globally.
  • A majority of voters give the quality of science education a grade of "C" or below - both nationally (67%) and in their local schools (50%).
  • Most voters (56%), believe science education in the United States ranks behind most other countries. This includes majorities across all major sub-groups, including gender, education, region or political affiliation.
  • Similar to voters' views on English and mathematics standards, by a margin of almost 2 to 1 (62% to 36%), voters prefer for states to have the same science standards so that students across the country have to meet the same expectations.
  • When informed that a group of states are leading the effort to develop new standards that are internationally-benchmarked, more challenging, and will require students to apply their science knowledge and understand how science concepts fit together, voters show broad support (87%) for the new standards

Attitudes Toward Science Education: Key Findings From A National Survey demonstrates that state leaders—and their supporters—who have undertaken developing new science standards together do so with solid support from a majority of voters who believe that the United States could strengthen its position in the global economy through improving science education. The national survey of N=800 registered voters was conducted February 22-26 by Public Opinion Strategies and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. The poll has a margin of error of +3.46%.

To view the survey results (either in PowerPoint or report form) see, www.achieve.org/2012-science-poll.

 

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Created in 1996 by the nation's governors and corporate leaders, Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit education reform organization based in Washington D.C. that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability. Achieve is leading the effort to make college and career readiness a national priority so that the transition from high school graduation to postsecondary education and careers is seamless. In 2005 Achieve launched the American Diploma Project Network. Starting with 13 original states, the Network has now grown to include 35 states educating nearly 85 percent of all U.S. public school students. Through the ADP Network, governors, state education officials, postsecondary leaders and business executives work together to improve postsecondary preparation by aligning high school standards, assessments, graduation requirements and accountability systems with the demands of college and careers. For more information about the work of Achieve, visit www.achieve.org.