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AMERICA'S YOUNG PEOPLE SPEAK OUT IN NATIONAL SURVEY: BELIEVE THE FUTURE WILL BE WORSE, EXPRESS DOUBTS ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

AMERICA'S YOUNG PEOPLE SPEAK OUT IN NATIONAL SURVEY: BELIEVE THE FUTURE
 WILL BE WORSE, EXPRESS DOUBTS ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
 NEW YORK, March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Scholastic Inc. announced the results of the first Scholastic Poll of American Youth, conducted by Chilton Research Services, the national marketing-research firm. The findings reveal a generation of young people with deep-seated concerns for their future and significant doubts about this year's slate of Presidential candidates. However, students also expressed a clear belief that leadership can help solve the nation's problems.
 -- More than half (54 percent) of today's youth (grades 3-12) think life in America will be worse 10 years from now.
 -- The issues of greatest concern to young people are: Drugs (56 percent), AIDS (50 percent), and the economy (38 percent).
 -- Among all Presidential candidates, David Duke (44 percent) was second only to President Bush (92 percent) in name recognition.
 -- High schoolers are skeptical about Presidential candidates and elected officials. Only 8 percent give President Bush an "A." Only 12 percent believe the best-qualified candidates are running for President.
 -- On a more positive note, 62 percent of students believe Presidential leadership can make a difference.
 The survey shows widespread concern among young people about the future. More than 54 percent of students forecast that life in America will grow worse over the next 10 years; only 23 percent expect life to "be better" than it is today. Older students were even more worried about the future: 64 percent of high schoolers said life in 10 years would be worse.
 Asked to list the three issues that concern them the most, students revealed a preoccupation with drugs (56 percent), AIDS (50 percent), and unemployment and the economy (38 percent). Among high schoolers, unemployment and the economy ranked as the number one concern (61 percent).
 Nowhere was the split among age groups more evident than in student assessments of President Bush's performance. Asked to grade the President, nearly half of all students in grades 3-5 (46 percent) gave him an "A." The President did not fare nearly so well among older students. High schoolers who gave the President an "F" (10 percent) outnumbered those who gave him an "A" (8 percent).
 The majority of students don't believe the best people are running for President and feel that elected officials in general don't care about their views. When asked whether the best-qualified candidates run for President, only 22 percent of all students said yes. Thirty five percent of younger students feel that the best-qualified candidates are in the race, but only 12 percent of high school students agreed with that view. While 53 percent of younger children felt that elected officials care about the concerns of young people, only 26 percent of junior high students and 17 percent of high school students shared that belief.
 U.S. students believe that a candidate's personal life and character are important. For example, 87 percent of all students felt that drug use was an important issue; 86 percent said that a candidate's honesty about his or her past matters. Fifty-five percent of all students would consider a candidate's cheating on an exam in college an issue; only 39 percent of high school students expressed that opinion.
 In terms of name recognition among current Presidential candidates, George Bush leads the field by a wide margin, at 92 percent. David Duke was in second place, garnering 44 percent recognition among all students. Among high schoolers, only Bush (94 percent), Duke (59 percent), Bill Clinton (52 percent), and Pat Buchanan (51 percent) gained over 50 percent name recognition.
 Although they express uncertainty about the current crop of candidates, students feel strongly that Presidential leadership will make a difference in solving the nation's problems. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of all students believe that the person in the White House plays an important role in solving our nation's problems. High school students were even more emphatic, with 72 percent expressing this view.
 According to Dr. Ernest Fleishman, Scholastic's director of education, the results of the Scholastic Poll of American Youth send a clear message about the role that young people need to play in our nation's political debate. "Young people are deeply concerned by the problems we face today," said Dr. Fleishman. "They fear for their future and are looking for leadership to help find solutions. But they also feel locked out from the political system, and believe that elected officials don't really care about them. If today's students are to become tomorrow's voters, we need to help them become more engaged in the political process and to get their voice heard."
 The Scholastic Poll of American Youth was conducted on Feb. 20 and Feb. 21. Findings were based on 2,861 interviews with students in grades 3-12, chosen through a random probability sample of students in 150 public, private, and parochial schools across the U.S. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.
 Scholastic Inc. is one of the nation's leading publishers and distributors of children's books, classroom and professional magazines, and other educational materials. The company also publishes educational software and produces family-oriented video and television programming. Scholastic Inc. operates in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
 For more information about the Scholastic Poll of American Youth, contact Gabrielle Myers at 212-505-3403.
 -0- 3/3/92
 /CONTACT: Gabrielle Myers of Scholastic, 212-505-3403/ CO: Scholastic Inc. ST: New York IN: PUB SU:


TS-PS -- NY012 -- 4310 03/03/92 08:25 EST
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Date:Mar 3, 1992
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