Finding One
Finding Two
Finding Three
Finding Four
Changes in Attitudes Over Time
California and the Nation at Large
Supporting Tables
About the Author
Public Agenda
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California and the Nation at Large

In many of the areas we have discussed so far, the attitudes of Californians are not significantly different from those of the nation as a whole. There are a few areas, however, where the attitudes of Californians do differ somewhat from the national perspective.

One area of difference concerns the issue of underprepared students. Nearly half (48%) of Californians think itís a problem in their state that students struggle when they get to college because they are not academically prepared, as opposed to 10% who do not think this is a problem (42% say they donít know enough to say). The percentage of Californians who think this is a problem is significantly higher than the nation as a

whole, where only 37% identify this as a problem (and a much larger 52% say they donít know enough to say). This may also be related to the negative evaluation that Californians give to their high schools. Fifty-five percent of Californians give their state public high schools a rating of only fair or poor, as compared to 41% nationwide.

Conversely, Californians were much more likely to see community colleges as a solution to the problem of underprepared students. We asked our California residents what to do with college applicants who lack the necessary skills to succeed in college. Sixty-three percent of Californians thought that the solution was to admit these students to a two-year college, as compared to a smaller percentage nationwide (53%) who thought so.

This response was particularly evident in our focus groups in Santa Clara. While some of our respondents in other states struggled with the problem of what to do with students who couldnít handle college work, for our California respondents this was a ďno brainerĒóif a student isnít ready for a four-year college, send him or her to community college. In general, community colleges appear to be a much more positive alternative in California than in some other states. Even those California parents who expected their students to eventually graduate from a four-year college often saw community college as the first step.


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