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The Role of the Federal Government in Public Education

Consensus Questions


1. The current role of the federal government in public education is

  1. much too small
  2. too small
  3. about right
  4. too large
  5. much too large

2. What should be the role of the federal government in public education? (Rank)

  • to ensure that all students pre K-12 receive a quality education
  • to develop accountability measures that will study the progress of all students so that they achieve adequate yearly progress
  • to mandate Common Core Standards for all students K-12
  • to monitor state efforts for funding
  • to measure teacher effectiveness through test data

3. A quality public education is important to perpetuate a strong and viable democracy.

  1. strongly agree
  2. no consensus
  3. disagree
  4. strongly disagree

Common Core Standards:

4. Currently the governors and state education officers have developed Common Core Standards that are national but not federal. Should the standards be mandated of the states in order to obtain federal funding? (Choose one)

  1. Special grant programs such as Race to the Top
  2. All programs under Elementary and Secondary Education Act where the needs qualify for funding
  3. All programs receiving federal funding from any source
  4. All of the above
  5. None of the above

5. Should there be a national assessment aligned with the common cores standards?
     Yes     No

  1. If yes, should implementation be voluntary or federally mandated? (Choose one)
    • Voluntary
    • Mandated
    • Mandated, if fully funded
  2. If no, what other accountability measures might you suggest? (Choose one)
    • Continue to allow the states to develop their own assessments
    • Suggest that the local education districts use their own assessments or adopt one that is a nationally norm-referenced assessment such as the Stanford Achievement Test or Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
    • Suggest that districts use a portfolio type of assessment where student projects and activities would be scored holistically

6. National standards should lead to: (Choose one)

  • A nationally mandated curriculum to be aligned to the national standards and assessments
  • A national curriculum that is only suggested but not mandated
  • A suggested structure for states and local education agencies to develop their own curriculum
  • No national curriculum

7. What role should the national assessment consortia play in student evaluations? (Rank order)

  • Provide an assessment system that is aligned to the Common Core Standards
  • Provide comparison data showing progress toward reaching Common Core Standards
  • Provide criteria for determining readiness for college and careers
  • Provide information to students, parents, teachers and school districts about student achievement
  • Provide diagnostic information on each child

8. Data from the national assessments are often difficult for parents, teachers and others to understand. If we have a national assessment, what information is most important to be reported to parents, teachers, students and the community? (Choose one)

  • Data should be “norm-referenced” (where students are ranked) for district comparison only
  • Data should be “criterion referenced” and clearly informative so that teachers, parents, and students know how individual students have mastered criteria established at a national level
  • Data should be used to determine “cut” scores knowing if students have mastered requirements for special grade levels

9. Information from nationally required assessment data should be used to (Choose one)

  • Sanction schools not measuring up to the specific levels
  • Reward schools that achieve high scores
  • Rank teachers based on student test score data
  • Reward teachers who have exemplary scores
  • Inform districts how their population compares to others similar to theirs

Funding and Equity:

10. In the past, most of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funding has been non-competitive based on need. All/Any schools that prove they fall under the federal guidelines for funding receive those funds. However, competitive grants are now being proposed to states/districts who meet certain federal requirements, such as Race to the Top. Which would be appropriate: (choose one)

  1. Non-competitive funding for all applicants meeting requirements
  2. A combination of non-competitive and competitive grants
  3. Competitive grants only
  4. No federal funding

11. If the federal government’s role is the concern of the “common good” then: (choose one)

  1. Mandates only should be sanctioned
  2. Mandates and funding should both be provided
  3. Funding should be provided through grants only
  4. A combination of funded mandates and grants should apply.
  5. No mandates should be required and limited grants for innovation available

12. Equity in public education means equitable access to: (Rank order)

  • high quality teaching/learning
  • adequate and current learning materials
  • clean and well maintained physical facilities
  • food and health care
  • safe and secure neighborhoods
  • secure housing

13. Currently, Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funding is considered “categorical” rather than for general use. This means that it can only be used with special populations for special purposes. ESEA should remain targeted toward poverty and special needs.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Consensus
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

14. The federal government has a role in supporting early childhood education, birth to 5, for all children?

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Consensus
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

15. Federal support for early childhood education programs (e.g., Head Start, Title I, Special Education, Early Start) should include funding for parent education and support regarding child development, child health and nutrition, and access to other supportive services, such as mental health as needed.

  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Consensus
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree

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