From "Profile of School Administrators in the U.S." by C. Emily Feistritzer, a report from the National Center for Education Information:

Nowhere in the . . . survey was there greater uniformity among all types of public school administrators across all types of school districts in all types of communities than in their attitudes about schools in America. . . .

Public school superintendents and principals across the board give public schools in this country much higher marks than does the general public, including the parents who send their children to these schools. Most . . . administrators think standards in schools -- and schools generally -- have improved in the last five years. The public does not agree.

A sample of adults was asked the question, "Do you think the educational standards in our schools have improved in recent years, stayed the same, or become worse?" . . . in February 1987. Nearly half (49 percent) of the adults polled responded, "Become worse," and 41 percent said they had improved. Five percent said the standards had stayed the same, and 5 percent stated they did not know.

When NCEI asked the same question of school administrators in fall 1987, 81 percent of superintendents and 72 percent of principals in public schools, compared with 40 percent in private schools, said standards in schools have improved in recent years. Only 4 percent of superintendents and 8 percent of public school principals, compared with 33 percent of private school principals, said the standards in schools had gotten worse in recent years. Fourteen percent of superintendents, 18 percent of public principals and 24 percent of private principals reported the standards have stayed the same.