Every year for the past 47 years, Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup have done a Poll On Education issues (you can see my posts from previous years here). This year’s poll results were just released, though I haven’t had time to thoroughly review them yet.
The American public has sharpened its belief that the federal government should not play a dominant role in public education, with a majority saying they simply do not support initiatives that they believe were created or promoted by federal policymakers, a new survey shows.
Moreover, only 27 percent of respondents give President Barack Obama a grade of “A” or “B” for his performance in support of public schools – down from 41 percent in 2011. A majority of those surveyed, 54 percent, do not think standardized tests are helpful to teachers; many do not understand how charter schools work, and the number of Americans saying they are familiar with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has skyrocketed in just one year, with a majority saying they oppose the standards….
…The new survey suggests the American public has a lot more confidence in local school systems than in the federal government. Fifty percent gave their local schools a grade of “A” or “B” and 56 percent said their local school board should have the greatest influence in deciding what was taught. Only 15 percent thought the federal government should have the most influence.
Yet when the focus was shifted from the respondents’ own local schools to ask about the performance of the nation’s schools in general, only 17 percent extended a grade of “B” or better to America’s schools….
….When asked a series of questions about standardized testing, the public generally supported various specialized tests such as those used for college entrance and Advanced Placement courses. But 54 percent of those questioned said they simply do not believe standardized testing in the classroom really helps local school teachers decide what to teach. Public school parents are even more negative about the value of standardized testing with 68 percent believing they are not helpful to teachers.
Here are quotes that I consider to be the highlights from the poll results:
Fewer than 25% of Americans believe increased testing has helped the performance of local public schools.
In just one year, Americans reversed their opinion, and now 58% oppose requiring that teacher evaluations include student scores on standardized tests.
Almost two of three Americans oppose releasing information to newspapers about how students of individual teachers perform on standardized tests.
Almost two of three Americans have never heard of the Common Core State Standards, arguably one of the most important education initiatives in decades, and most of those who say they know about the Common Core neither understand it nor embrace it….Among the third who had heard of the Common Core, only four of 10 said the standards can help make education in the United States more competitive globally; a majority said the standards will make the U.S. less competitive or have no effect.
Americans said their children are safe at school,and they reject the idea of arming teachers and principals.
A majority of Americans give the public schools in their community an A or B — the highest rating ever recorded by this poll — but fewer than one of five would give the schools nationally a B or better.
Americans value having schools teach 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
More than 70% of Americans have trust and confidence in the men and women who teach in public schools, and 65% have trust in public school principals. These percentages are even higher for Americans under the age of 40.
Lack of financial support continues to be the biggest problem facing public schools. Public school parents agree, and they see overcrowding as the second biggest problem. Three new concerns rose to near the top of the list of the biggest problems facing public schools: lack of parental support, difficulties in getting good teachers, and testing requirements and regulations.
About the only good news for “school reformers” is this: Americans’ support for public charter schools remains high at slightly less than 70%, and two of three Americans support new public charter schools in their communities.
However, even that news is somewhat tempered with this: Seventy percent of Americans oppose private school vouchers — the highest level of opposition to vouchers ever recorded in this survey.
The question is: What will “school reformers” do in response? Will they moderate their positions and come to the table to compromise, or will they double-down in self-righteousness and zeal (and get a lot more money from Gates, Walton, Broad, etc.)?
Every year for the past 44 years, Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup have done a Poll On Education issues. This year’s poll results were just released. I’ve been out of town for the past couple of days, and haven’t had a chance to review it in-depth. I thought, though, that it would be useful to share with readers some of the commentaries on the poll that will be on on my reading list this weekend.
Earlier this morning, the results of the latest Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup Poll On Education issues were released. I thought I’d pull together some good analyses and reports on it, and will continue to add to this list.
Here are my choices for The Best Posts/Articles On This Year’s Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup Poll On Education:
Thanks to Kelly Gallagher, I learned about a brand-new report from America’s Promise Alliance on the reasons why students drop-out of high school. They surveyed 2,000 students who took at least one semester off from school. Tech Insider took the information and created a chart of the results (their chart is more accessible than the one in the report itself). You can see the entire chart here, and I’ve done a screenshot of the reasons that were at the top.
Right now, all sorts of people are trying to rethink and reinvent education, to get poor minority kids performing as well as white kids. But there’s one thing nobody tries anymore, despite lots of evidence that it works: desegregation. Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at a district that, not long ago, accidentally launched a desegregation program.
In the always must-read EduShyster blog, guest Amy Berard writes about her humiliating teaching experience last year wearing an earpiece and being told what to do by three trainers in the back of her classroom with a walkie-talkie.
Frank Bruni wrote a New York Times column that pretty much summarizes good policy changes that could be made to enhance the attractiveness of the teaching profession: higher salaries, a career ladder, a career ladder, a voice in policy decisions and more.
John Merrow, who recently retired from being the PBS News Hour education correspondent, went out with a bang in his final segment titled Is kindergarten too young to suspend a student? (see the transcript at the link). It’s an amazing piece on the practices of the New York City-based Success Academy charter network. All I can say is just watch it: