San Jose, Calif., July 26, 2007 - Americans understand that fundamental changes must be made to the U.S. educational system if the country is to remain competitive in the 21st century, a report released today by Cisco® found. Americans especially realize the importance of adopting information technology to upgrade schools, connect communities and improve educational content, but they are often conflicted about these changes.
The survey, titled "Education Attitudes 2007," was conducted by Zogby International in May. The majority of Americans said that technology is an important factor in connecting schools to their communities as well as in leveling the playing field among more and less affluent schools by providing equal access to educational content.
"How to best educate students so that they have the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century workforce is a critical issue facing every country," said Bill Fowler, Executive Director of Cisco's Twenty-First Century Schools Initiative. "This survey highlights that there is a common understanding and appreciation that technology will play a key role in improving the way teachers teach and students learn so that they are prepared to take advantage of all the opportunities a global society and networked communities provide."
According to the survey, 59 percent of Americans agree that "information technology is a vital tool that can help educate our students by providing access to video and other dynamic content" and that more should be done to incorporate information technology into the learning process.
Americans recognize that understanding science and technology is important to success in the 21st century workforce, 69 percent of Americans believe that science and math courses should be made mandatory for grades 7 through 12.
Competitiveness in a global marketplace is indeed a key issue facing the United States. And by a slim majority Americans also believe that the U.S. education system should take a more global approach to its curriculum. Fifty-four percent of Americans said that schools should place a greater emphasis on teaching a global perspective.
Finally, despite the growing need for problem-solving skills in an innovation society, Americans are not prepared to base student grades on collaboration skills by shifting coursework away from individual achievement. Only 32 percent of those surveyed said they support a grading system that is in favor of teaching students how to work more effectively in groups, this includes basing 25 percent of a student's grade on group work. Instead, 58 percent said educators should continue to promote and focus efforts on individual performance.
The 2007 Zogby surveyed more than 7,000 general consumer Americans across the country over the age of 18 from May 11 through May 14.
To learn more about Cisco's education efforts, go to http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/education/index.html