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EDUCATION: AN EXPLORATION OF IDEAS, ISSUES AND TRENDS
IN EDUCATION

Students With Attitudes

January 19, 1998

During the first week of classes each fall, 350,000 incoming college freshmen are asked provocative questions on everything from sex and drugs to making the academic honor roll. The survey by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute generates a half-inch-thick volume--the American Freshman--that has become the bible for educators tracking the shifting attitudes of U.S. college students. This week, UCLA released the findings of the 32nd annual survey, highlighting a continuing trend of disengagement. Each new wave of college students seems less interested in politics and school work than its predecessors--but is no less materially oriented and ambitious. Here is a sampling of views expressed by the Class of 2001:

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Political Orientation is far left

All Institutions: 2.8

All 2-year Colleges: 3.5

All Black Colleges: 4.8

Public Universities: 2.3

Private Universities: 2.1

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Political Orientation is liberal

All Institutions: 21.6

All 2-year Colleges: 18.7

All Black Colleges: 29.12

Public Universities: 24.4

Private Universities: 27.6

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Political Orientation is middle of the road

All Institutions: 54.8

All 2-year Colleges: 60.3

All Black Colleges: 51.4

Public Universities: 51.1

Private Universities: 45.8

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Political Orientation is conservative

All Institutions: 19.3

All 2-year Colleges: 15.9

All Black Colleges: 12.8

Public Universities: 20.9

Private Universities: 23.1

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Political Orientation is far right

All Institutions: 1.5

All 2-year Colleges: 1.6

All Black Colleges: 1.9

Public Universities: 1.3

Private Universities: 1.4

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

The federal government is not doing enough to control environmental pollution

All Institutions: 80.7

All 2-year Colleges: 80.2

All Black Colleges: 83.5

Public Universities: 80.8

Private Universities: 80.5

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

The Federal government should raise taxes to reduce the deficit

All Institutions: 22.1

All 2-year Colleges: 19.2

All Black Colleges: 17.4

Public Universities: 25.8

Private Universities: 27.3

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

There is too much concern in the courts for the rights of criminals

All Institutions: 70.2

All 2-year Colleges: 68.9

All Black Colleges: 60.3

Public Universities: 71.3

Private Universities: 67.7

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Capital punishment should be abolished

All Institutions: 23.7

All 2-year Colleges: 22.5

All Black Colleges: 38.6

Public Universities: 23.6

Private Universities: 29.5

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Sex is OK if people like each other

All Institutions: 42.2

All 2-year Colleges: 47.5

All Black Colleges: 36.6

Public Universities: 41.5

Private Universities: 39.6

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

The activities of married women are best confined to the home and family

All Institutions: 25.4

All 2-year Colleges: 30.4

All Black Colleges: 32.1

Public Universities: 21.7

Private Universities: 18.7

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Marijuana should be legalized

All Institutions: 35.2

All 2-year Colleges: 39.2

All Black Colleges: 36.7

Public Universities: 34.0

Private Universities: 33.9

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

It is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual relationships

All Institutions: 33.9

All 2-year Colleges: 39.1

All Black Colleges: 37.2

Public Universities: 28.2

Private Universities: 21.7

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Employers should be allowed to require drug testing of employees or job applicants

All Institutions: 78.4

All 2-year Colleges: 75.6

All Black Colleges: 83.4

Public Universities: 79.6

Private Universities: 77.4

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Just because a man thinks that a woman has "led him on" does not entitle him to have sex with her

All Institutions: 86.9

All 2-year Colleges: 82.1

All Black Colleges: 83.5

Public Universities: 90.5

Private Universities: 90.9

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

The federal government should do more to control the sale of handguns

All Institutions: 81.3

All 2-year Colleges: 77.5

All Black Colleges: 89.1

Public Universities: 83.7

Private Universities: 86.2

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

A national health care plan is needed to cover everybody's medical costs

All Institutions: 72.4

All 2-year Colleges: 75.5

All Black Colleges: 82.9

Public Universities: 69.1

Private Universities: 66.9

*

Percent saying they agree strongly or somewhat with the following:

Racial discrimination is no longer a problem

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