Are Public Schools Failing?

A new nationwide study says many teachers and students are generally dissatisfied with the state of public education.

Public Agenda, a Washington D.C. based research firm, started collecting opinions for the study ten years ago. Their research shows most teachers and students believe classroom behavior, academic standards and disrespect for teachers are major problems in public education.

According to the study, an alarming 48 % of teachers admit they've seen students get diplomas without the skills needed. And four in ten teachers admit they've promoted unqualified students before.

As far as classroom behavior goes, the majority of parents, teachers and students surveyed say disrespect for teachers and other students is common. And 32 percent of students agree that bullying is a serious problem.

College administrators like Deborah Kelley says misbehavior at school can affect a student's  present and future performance in school, but she says it's not the lone cause of students ending up unprepared for college.

"We have a lot of students who are supposedly passing, but who don't have the proper skills to do college level work, that's a sad phenomenon.," says Kelley. "And I do agree with it. But being able to say any one given factor is the reason why is too simplistic."

Kelley says one-third of TJC's students are now enrolled in at least one developmental courses.

Oddly enough, while educators saw room for improvement in academic standards, 73 percent of parents gave their kids' schools favorable ratings, and 67 percent said the schools' academic expectations are about right.

But former high school students who are now braving college find the study pretty accurate.

"I see a lot of people struggle," says Karen Cross, who graduated in 2000. "Students are constantly going to their professors' offices and student centers for help."