Poll shows public opposes idea of national school board

The majority of Americans would not support a national school board and feel that states and local school boards should have the greatest influence on public school curriculum, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the Obama administration has combined the president’s Race to the Top initiative with waivers from No Child Left Behind to convert itself into a national school board.

“(Wednesday’s) poll shows Americans reject the persistent overreach from Washington and know these decisions are best made closer to home,” Alexander said. “My legislation, which all Republicans on the Senate education committee have voted for, would reverse the trend toward a national school board and send back to the states all decisions about standards, tests, performance targets and teacher evaluations.”

Alexander co-sponsored the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act last year. The measure would enable states to decide whether or not schools and teachers are succeeding.

At the time, Alexander said the best way to help 50 million children in 100,000 public schools would be to place the responsibility on parents, teachers, communities and states.

“Fortunately, over the last 30 years states have worked together to create higher standards, better tests and pioneered new systems of teacher evaluations related to student performance,” Alexander said. “Our legislation would create a national environment that would help them succeed. Unfortunately, the Democratic alternative would create more congestion by freezing into law existing federal mandates and adding 20 new programs and 80 new requirements on states and school districts.”