UNI study finds most Iowa superintendents like No Child Left Behind Act

September 9, 2004

David Else, director, UNI Institute for Educational Leadership, (319) 273-3358
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing and Public Relations, (319) 273-6728

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Although there are disgruntled rumblings about the controversial No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, Iowa school superintendents see many positives within the legislation. According to a survey conducted by the University of Northern Iowa's Institute for Educational Leadership, superintendents say the NCLB Act and student achievement accountability have had little or no effect on job satisfaction.

The survey was sent to all 356 of Iowa's school superintendents; 258, or 72 percent, responded. Results were collected in July 2004.

'The No Child Left Behind legislation has put tremendous demands on districts,' explained David Else, director of the Institute for Educational Leadership. 'There is a lot of emphasis on raising achievement levels, closing achievement gaps, and repeated testing. We assumed that this kind of pressure -- with minimal or no financial support -- might affect job satisfaction of superintendents.'

But 87.6 percent said they were moderately or very satisfied with their jobs. Eighty-eight percent said the same thing in 1996, long before No Child Left Behind legislation. When asked what factors contributed most significantly to inhibiting job effectiveness, most superintendents said lack of funding.

Fifty percent of those returning surveys indicated that the NCLB Act had somewhat improved instruction, and 11.4 percent said it had significantly improved instruction. Eighteen percent said the act had no effect, and 19.9 percent believed the act had a detrimental effect.

Else said that, according to the survey, NCLB's positive effects have included increasing the role of the superintendent via increased collaboration with teachers, and better communication with the community.