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Survey: 68 percent of U.S. adults say discipline in public schools is too lax

student discipline

According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, 68 percent of U.S. adults say discipline in public schools is too easy. Only five percent say it's too tough, and 19 percent say the level of discipline imposed in American public school classrooms is about right.

Seventy-eight percent of adults agree that it's harder for a teacher to maintain discipline in the classroom today than it was when they were students, while only 13 percent disagree.

Still, just 11 percent of respondents say a student's behavior in class is primarily the teacher's responsibility. Forty-seven percent say parents are the ones most responsible for their child's behavior, while 36 percent say the students themselves are most responsible. Two percent of adults say school authorities are responsible for a student's behavior in class, and one percent say the police are responsible.

Among survey respondents, men are more likely than women to think discipline is too easy in public schools, and adults over 30 feel much more strongly than younger adults that there's not enough discipline in public schools. More than eight out of 10 adults over 40 think it's harder to maintain discipline in public schools today than it was when they were in school.

Sixty-three percent of adults with children in the home think school discipline is too easy, compared to 71 percent of those without children in the home. Fifty percent of adults with children in the home and 45 percent of those without children in the home agree that a student's behavior in class is primarily the responsibility of his or her parents.

Fifty-six percent of American adults say children need to spend more time in school, while 34 percent disagree and 10 percent are unsure. Still, 66 percent of adults say they're opposed to extending the school year to a 12 month calendar--only 27 percent are in favor of doing so. Forty-eight percent of adults say it's good for children to have a lengthy summer vacation, while 34 percent say a long summer break is bad for kids, and 18 percent are undecided.

The national telephone survey of 1,000 adults was conducted on July 19 and 20, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports.

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