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Poll: Most Americans would trade some school control for funding

  • Story Highlights
  • 56 percent would give up some control of public schools for federal funding
  • Americans don't favor longer school days; do favor longer school years, poll indicates
  • Americans split on merit-based pay, according to poll
  • Obama supports merit pay for teachers, an idea opposed by teachers unions
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Most Americans would be willing to give up some control of their public schools to the federal government in return for funding from Washington, according to a new poll.

Most Americans favor longer school years but not longer school days, according to the poll.

Most Americans favor longer school years but not longer school days, according to the poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said they would like to see more federal money spent on the public schools in their communities, even if it meant increased influence by the federal government over the education policies those schools follow. Forty-three percent opposed the idea.

"The most interesting gap is between mothers and fathers of children under 18," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

"Seventy-two percent of mothers favor more government influence over local schools in exchange for more money. Only about half of all fathers feel the same way. People with no children under 18 are split on the concept, with 53 percent favoring that idea and 46 percent opposing," he said.

The poll also suggests that Americans don't favor longer school days, but they do think the school year should be longer. Fifty-seven percent support increasing the number of days that students spend in school each year, but 55 percent oppose increasing the number of hours that students spend in school each day.

The public is split on whether teachers should get more money if their students do better on tests, known as merit pay. Fifty percent like that idea, and 48 percent dislike it.

"Mothers and fathers disagree on merit pay as well," Holland notes. "Most fathers of children under 18 think it is a good idea. Most mothers do not."

President Obama's vision for education reform includes expanded merit pay for teachers, an idea long opposed by teachers unions.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted March 12-15, with 1,019 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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