Crowded classroom
Find out how to help improve schools and education initiatives across the country with the following organizations.
Stand Up
Stand Up is a community-based response to America’s education crisis. They are parents, students, and everyday citizens who "Stand Up" for better high schools.

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was created to help reduce inequities in four primary areas, including education. The education program seeks to ensure that all students in the United States graduate from high school ready for college, work, and citizenship.

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DonorsChoose is an online charity that allows teachers in needy school districts to post educational materials and resources that they need for their classrooms. Donors can search the listings and decide what they want to support.
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School kids
In March 2006, Time magazine teamed up with The Oprah Winfrey Show to poll 1,000 Americans—of all ages, classes and races—about their views on the educational system and high school dropouts. How do your views compare?

1. Where do you think the United States ranks internationally when it comes to the quality of education we provide overall? Would you say that the United States is best when it comes to quality of education, in the top 5, top 10, top 20, or below that?
Best 3%
Top 5 25%
Top 10 29%
Top 20 22%
Below that 17%
No answer/don't know 3%

2. In general, what grade would you give public schools in the United States—an "A" for excellent, a "B", "C", "D" or a failing grade of "F"?
A (excellent) 5%
B 31%
C 44%
D 10%
F (failing grade) 7%
No answer/don't know 3%

3. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the public schools in this country?
Satisfied 39%
Dissatisfied 55%
No answer/don't know 6%

4. Do you think that public schools in this country are in a "crisis," or not?
In crisis 61%
Not in crisis 34%
No answer/don't know 5%

5. Do you think that we are spending too much money on public schools, too little money, or about the right amount of money on public schools?
Too much 10%
Too little 64%
About the right amount 22%
No answer/don't know 4%

6. Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to improve the public schools, or not?
Willing to pay higher taxes 59%
Not willing 38%
No answer/don't know 3%

7. How do public schools today compare to, say, 20 years ago? In your opinion, are they better, worse, or about the same as they were 20 years ago?
Better 26%
Worse 52%
Same 18%
No answer/don't know 5%

8. Do you think that the public schools overall are teaching students the skills they will need for our economy in the 21st century, or not?
Teaching skills they will need 38%
Not teaching them 57%
No answer/don't know 6%

9. Do you have any children in your household currently attending school, grades "K" thru grade 12?
Yes 36%
No 64%

10. Do any currently attend public schools? (Respondents: 323 out of 1,000)
Yes 86%
No 14%
No answer/don't know 1%
11. And what grade would you give your child's school—an "A" for excellent, a "B", "C", "D" or a failing grade of "F"? (Respondents: 279 out of 1,000)
A (excellent) 23%
B 46%
C 21%
D 7%
F (failing grade) 3%
No answer/don't know less than 1%

12. Do you think that your child or children attending public schools are being adequately prepared for college if they decide to go to college? (Respondents: 279 out of 1,000)
Yes 62%
No 33%
No answer/don't know 6%

13. If you had the choice of sending your child to a different school, in your area, would you switch schools, or not? (Respondents: 279 out of 1,000)
Would switch schools 40%
Not switch schools 57%
No answer/don't know 3%

14. What percent of American students do you think graduate from high school?
0 to 25% 2%
26 to 50% 9%
51to 75% 49%
76 to 100% 35%
No answer/don't know 4%

15. How serious a problem do you consider the school dropout rate in America to be?
Extremely serious 42%
Somewhat serious 47%
Not very serious 5%
Not serious at all 3%
No answer/don't know 3%

16. Here are some measures that have been suggested to increase the number of children graduating from high school.

A) Make truancy enforcement stronger to cut down on the number of children skipping school without an excuse. Would this measure be…
Very effective 46%
Somewhat effective 37%
Not very effective 9%
Not at all effective 7%
No answer/don't know 1%

B) Increase parental involvement by offering training to parents on how to keep their children in school. Would this measure be…
Very effective 50%
Somewhat effective 37%
Not very effective 6%
Not at all effective 6%
No answer/don't know 1%

C) Lower academic standards so that more children can graduate. Would this measure be…
Very effective 7%
Somewhat effective 13%
Not very effective 18%
Not at all effective 60%
No answer/don't know 2%

D) Outlaw dropping out of school under the age of 18. Would this measure be…
Very effective 33%
Somewhat effective 31%
Not very effective 18%
Not at all effective 16%
No answer/don't know 3%

E) Penalize the parents of students who don't finish high school. Would this measure be…
Very effective 18%
Somewhat effective 27%
Not very effective 27%
Not at all effective 27%
No answer/don't know 2%

17. Did you yourself complete high school or did you drop out of school? If you dropped out of school, but got a G.E.D., please tell me.
Completed high school 87%
Dropped out, but got a G.E.D. 7%
Dropped out 5%
No answer/don't know 1%

18. Do you regret dropping out of school, or not? (Respondents: 121 out of 1,000)
Regretted 70%
Not regret 28%
No answer/don't know 2%

19. Did you ever consider dropping out of high school? (Respondents: 879 out of 1,000)
Yes, considered 11%
No, did not consider 89%
No answer/don't know less than 1%

20. Which of the following best describes the main reason you [dropped out/considered dropping out] of school? (Respondents: 205 out of 1,000)
Your school wasn't very good 7%
You were not really motivated to finish school 18%
Your class work was too difficult 3%
You had problems at home 17%
You needed to work to earn money 18%
Pregnancy 8%
Illness 1%
Military/draft 1%
Marriage 1%
Some other reason (specify) 24%
No answer/don't know 2%

21. Which of the following describes the main reason you finished high school? (Respondents: 873 out of 1,000)
Your parents' or family member's involvement and encouragement 26%
Your own desire to succeed or go to college 46%
Both 26%
Neither 2%
No answer/don't know less than 1%

22. Please tell me how important each of the following reasons are for why many students drop out of high school.

1) The schools they attend and the teachers aren't very good.
Extremely important 14%
Very important 25%
Somewhat important 33%
Not very important 25%
No answer/don't know 2%

2) The students are not motivated.
Extremely important 27%
Very important 39%
Somewhat important 21%
Not very important 11%
No answer/don't know 2%

3) Class work is too difficult.
Extremely important 4%
Very important 11%
Somewhat important 29%
Not very important 54%
No answer/don't know 2%

4) They have problems at home.
Extremely important 25%
Very important 39%
Somewhat important 25%
Not very important 9%
No answer/don't know 2%

5) They need to work to earn money.
Extremely important 12%
Very important 20%
Somewhat important 39%
Not very important 27%
No answer/don't know 2%

23. Some people who dropped out of school can take tests to earn a general education development certificate or G.E.D.. In your view, is a G.E.D. as good as a high school diploma or not?
As good as a high school diploma 37%
Not as good 60%
No answer/don't know 3%

24. Do you think a G.E.D. certificate provides high school dropouts as many opportunities as a high school diploma does, or not?
Provides as many opportunities 29%
Does not 64%
Depends/sometimes yes/sometimes no 4%
No answer/don't know 4%

25. In your opinion, at what age should students be allowed to drop out of school?
10 to 15 1%
16 12%
17 11%
18 38%
19 to 21 6%
Should not be allowed 26%
No answer/don't know 6%

26. Do you think that the government should forbid students younger than 18 from dropping out of high school?
Yes, should forbid 62%
No, should not forbid 35%
No answer/don't know 3%

27. If a student younger than 18 chooses to leave school, should the state be allowed to deny them driver's licenses until they turn 18, or not?
Yes, state should be allowed to deny 65%
No, state should not be allowed to deny 32%
No answer/don't know 3%

28. And if a student younger than 18 dropped out of school, should the state be allowed to deny them child work permits, or not?
Yes, state should be allowed to deny 33%
No, state should not be allowed to deny 64%
No answer/don't know 3%

29. Should the federal government pass laws making it illegal in all states to leave high school before the age of 16?
Yes, should make illegal 69%
No, should not 28%
No answer/don't know 3%

30. In your opinion, should all students be required to pursue a college track in high school or should students be offered the option of taking vocational education to prepare them for work immediately following high school?
All students required to pursue college track 8%
Should be offered vocation education option 88%
No answer/don't know 4%

31. Do you think that schools today should spend more on vocational education, less, or are they spending about the right amount now?
Spend more 51%
Spend less 4%
About the right amount now 33%
No answer/don't know 12%

32. In your opinion, do you think that there is too much emphasis on standardized achievement testing in the public schools in your community, too little, or about the right amount?
Too much 44%
Too little 11%
About the right amount 39%
No answer/don't know 6%

33. In 2001, Congress passed President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" act. How much would you say that you know about the "No Child Left Behind" act?
Great deal 17%
Some 40%
Not much 29%
Nothing at all 14%
No answer/don't know 1%

34. Based on anything you may have seen or heard, do you think that the "No Child Left Behind" act has had a positive impact on education, a negative impact, or not much impact at all?
Positive 35%
Negative 23%
Not much impact 35%
No answer/don't know 8%

35. Who or what is most to blame when some public schools fail to improve test scores?
Not enough money 24%
School districts 21%
Parents 18%
Students 14%
Teachers 11%
No answer/don't know 11%

Demographics of Respondents:

What is your gender?
Male 48%
Female 52%

What is your age?
18-24 11%
25-29 8%
30-34 10%
35-39 8%
40-44 13%
45-54 19%
55-64 13%
65 or older 17%
No answer/don't know 1%

What is the highest grade of schooling that you've completed?
8th grade or less 2%
Some high school 9%
High school graduate 21%
Some college 28%
College graduate 25%
Postgraduate study/law or medical school 14%
No answer/don't know 1%

Are you of Hispanic origin or descent?
Yes 10%
No 89%
No answer/don't know 1%

What is your race? Are you white, black, Asian, or something else?
White 76%
Black 11%
Asian 2%
Hispanic 6%
Other 5%
Don't know/no answer 1%

What was your total family income before taxes last year?
Less than $20,000 11%
$20,000 to just under $35,000 18%
$35,000 to just under $50,000 18%
$50,000 to just under $75,000 16%
$75,000 to just under $100,000 12%
$100,000 or more 16%
No answer/don't know 9%


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