Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Public schools--United States--Public opinion; Public schools--Iowa--Gladbrook--Public opinion; Public opinion--United States; Public opinion--Iowa--Gladbrook; Attitude (Psychology); Public opinion; Public schools--Public opinion; United States;


The purpose of this study was to ascertain the attitude of the public toward the public school in a small Iowa school district, Gladbrook, and compare this with the public attitudes on a national survey conducted by George Gallup. This survey was conducted because public attitudes towards public schools are continually changing and because very little information about the public's attitude towards the school in Gladbrook, Iowa, was available.

Reviewing the literature was the first phase of the study. The literature in this field was divided into four areas: (1) criticism and critics of education, (2) need for change in education, {J) positive comments about education, and (4) need for public involvement in education. The literature revealed that many people feel that the public schools in the United States are the responsibility of the citizens. This requires an intelligent and well-informed public, if we are to use public opinion as a barometer to measure the quality of our performance. One answer to this problem is the use of attitude sampling by a questionnaire. One such questionnaire was developed by George Gallup. This questionnaire was sent to 365 adults selected at random from a 1973 Gladbrook telephone directory. This involved every fourth name in the directory. Two hundred fifty-two forms were returned.

The results of this questionnaire were tabulated and compared with the results of the same questionnaire that was administered on a national survey. The results show that the attitudes of the nation and Gladbrook basically agree in these areas: 1. Major problems facing schools 2. Educational programs that should be stressed in elementary and secondary schools 3. Methods of financing schools 4. Disapproval of tenure for teachers 5. Chief blame for a child's failure in school 6. Disapproval of starting school at the age of four 7. Compulsory attendance in elementary and secondary school.

The results of this survey show that the attitudes of the nation and Gladbrook tend to disagree in these areas: 1. Good qualities of our schools 2. Reasons given for acquiring an education 3. Year-around school 4. Permitting students to make greater use of educational opportunities found out of school 5. Concept of non-graded schools 6. Attitudes towards school boards 7. Teaching as a career.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Leadership and Postsecondary Education


Department of School Administration and Personnel Services

First Advisor

Norman McCumsey


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Date Original


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