Sunday, October 31, 1999

School officials dispute findings of new survey

Testing firm claims quality worries many

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati parents are among the nation's most disgruntled when it comes to the quality of public schools, according to a survey the Educational Testing Service (ETS) conducted in 55 American cities.

        The survey, based on data compiled from 1990-96, found that more than 26 percent of Cincinnati parents are dissatisfied with city schools, putting Cincinnati third among cities most unhappy with public education, the survey found. Only Cleveland and Oakland ranked worse, with a third of households questioning the quality of their public schools. Chicago and Philadelphia rounded out the top five.

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        The Princeton, N.J.-based ETS released the survey last week.

        The findings conflict with parental surveys Cincinnati Public Schools has released in recent years, which indi cate growing satisfaction with schools.

        District spokeswoman Jan Leslie said that's because the ETS survey is based on data collected between 1990 and 1996 and doesn't consider recent reforms that have proven popular among parents.

        “They're using very old data, and we've seen a lot of changes in this district since then,” she said.

        The district's surveys — conducted last spring — show that about 80 percent of parents are satisfied with their children's education. Parents of white children were more likely than those of black children to think their children could get a good education in CPS schools.

        In suburban Cincinnati households, only 7.6 percent of parents are dissatisfied with public schools, according to the ETS survey.

        In most cities, crime outweighed education on residents' minds, according to the ETS survey. But in Cincinnati, crime and education were of equal concern.


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