50 Years of American Voices


Stanley. M. Elam and Lowell C. Rose

The 27th annual PDK/Gallup Poll
of the Public’s Attitudes Toward
the Public Schools

“People view lack of parental control and the breakdown of family life as the major causes of what they see as an increase in school violence. Interestingly, however, … the closer people are to the schools in question and the more contact they have with them, the less likely they are to view violence as a serious problem.

“People do not generally believe that students who are guilty of disruptive behavior or violence in school should be expelled. Instead, a majority opts for transfer to separate facilities where students can be given special attention.”

What was happening in American education?

Jan. 19, 1995: By a vote of 99-1,the U.S. Senate condemns the National History Standards as presenting Western civilization in an unflattering light.

April 26, 1995: In U.S. v. Lopez, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Bush-era Gun-Free School Zones Act, saying Congress had overstepped its authority in restricting access to guns within 1,000 feet of a school.

1995 Emotional Intelligence Cov

Nov. 15, 1995: Daniel Goleman publishes Emotional Intelligence, which broadens the public understanding of intelligence beyond traditional measures of IQ.

1995: The Third International Mathematics and Science Study becomes the first international assessment of student achievement in five grades. (Later, it becomes known as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study [TIMSS]).

What else was happening in the United States?

April 19, 1995: Two anarchists bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and becoming the worst domestic terrorist attack in U.S. history at the time.

The north side of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is missing after a car bomb exploded April 19, 1995. (AP Photo)

Oct. 3, 1995: O.J. Simpson is acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife and her friend.

Oct. 16, 1995: Hundreds of thousands of black men gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Million Man March, one of the largest demonstrations of its kind in the capital’s history.

Dec. 16, 1995: The federal government shuts down after President Bill Clinton and a Republican-controlled Congress reach a stalemate on the 1996 budget — particularly Medicare, education, and public health.

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We welcome your conversation about the poll results and the other information we’ve assembled here. What did we forget? What do you remember about this year? How do you think the events of this year influenced the responses to our questions?