The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

August 19, 2013

AP-NORC Poll: Race, income divide views of schools

(Continued)

"I don't know. Compared to the kids in the U.K.? Probably not," Anderson said.

Among the findings of the AP-NORC poll:

—Parents from wealthier families were less likely than those from less affluent ones to see bullying, low parental involvement, low test scores, low expectations and out-of-date textbooks as serious problems.

—Parents with a college degree point to unequal school funding as the top problem facing education, while parents without a college degree point to low expectations for students as the biggest challenge.

—Black and Hispanic parents are more apt than white parents to see per-student spending, the quality of school buildings and the availability of support resources as important drivers of school quality.

"Schools in many ways are being parents, role models, providing after-school care. Especially middle schools; they're babysitting because they're providing after-school care," said John Dalton, a 49-year-old father of two from Canandaigua, N.Y, who teaches high school English.

Dalton acknowledged his Finger Lakes-region town is affluent and said money isn't determining whether the students succeed or fail. But he said he would like his son Patrick's public Canandaigua Academy to spend more time on rigorous studies.

"The focus isn't really on learning, it's on so many different things, and the social aspect has taken over for so many of our students," he said.

When asked about problems facing students, parents from households earning less than $50,000 a year were more worried than parents making more than $100,000. For example, among less affluent families, 52 percent said bullying was a problem and 47 percent worried about too little parental involvement. Among wealthier parents, those numbers were 18 percent and 29 percent.

Responsibility falls to the parents because teachers aren't doing their jobs, said John Barnum, a father of five who lives in Las Vegas.

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