The Student and Teacher Survey Results

An important part of the three years of background research that went into preparation for this book was an original survey of 774 students and teachers in a dozen schools and three states. In all the published information and opinions about education, almost nothing has been published on what the primary stakeholders -- students and teachers -- feel about education.

We seem to have asked everyone outside of school building what is wrong with education, but ignored the views of everyone inside the building!

The results were staggering. Here is a brief summary of a few of the findings:

  • Homework: The typical student today in this survey did far less homework in a week than most of their parents used to do in a single night. Total at-home homework for the week averaged just 1.5 hours.


  • Cheating: 29% of students copy homework. Another 24% willingly take zeroes. 18% of children (roughly six in every class!) cheat on tests.


  • Do-overs: 53% of classes routinely allow do-overs or make-up assignments to replace a failing grade.


  • Expectations: 23% of students do not care what grades they get as long as they pass. More than one-third of urban parents don't care what grades their child gets as long as he/she passes.


  • Teacher support from administration: Only 30% of teachers feel they get good or strong support from administration when there is a conflict with a parent.


  • Parents of struggling students: Only 4% of parents of struggling children show up for parent-teacher nights. 71% of parents of struggling students do not respond to requests for conferences.


  • Teacher duties: 32% of teacher time is spent on tasks that do not contribute to the education of children


  • Principal and Superintendent cronyism: 60% of teachers feel that cronyism was the full or major factor in promotions and for-pay assignments such as coaching or club advisors.


  • Principal and Superintendent competence: Almost half of all principals are seen as unqualified, or little qualified, to run a school.


  • In Lifting The Curtain Russell presents the complete findings of this unique survey.