Review, analysis, and recommendations of the 1990-99 Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the public's attitudes towards public schools top responses to the question "What do you think are the biggest problems facing public schools in your community?"

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Scott, James R.
Wiedmer, Terry L.
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
Department of Educational Leadership
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Since their inception, public schools had been faced with inert problems. The purpose of this study was to discover what the American public believed were the biggest problems facing public schools from 1990-1999 and what education experts believed could be done to eliminate or lessen the problems. Data to discover what the public believed were the biggest problems facing public schools were derived from the Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Polls of the Public's Attitudes Toward Public Schools (Poll) for that 10-year period. Possible solutions to those problems were examined and discussed based on the latest literature on identified topics.Based on the Poll data the public identified 46 problems facing public schools for this 10-year period. A group of 35 individuals sorted the 46 public school problems into categories they believed were similar with each other and these groupings were factor analyzed to determine coherent problem categories.The results of the factor analysis provided a list 16 problem areas for the 10-year (1990-1999) period as being the most prevalent. Potential solutions to these 16 problems were offered from four different areas: the schools, government, community and individual homes of the students. Some solutions to a particular problem were also mentioned as potential solutions to many of the other problems facing public schools.Suggestions for further study include replicating this study at the local level, analyzing each problem more thoroughly, and conducting further study of the factor analysis.