The 45th annual PDK/Gallup Poll collected data from over 1000 Americans ages 18+ regarding the approach to improving the educational system of America and the results showed a clear divide between policy makers and ordinary American citizens. The poll showed as many as 58% of Americans reject the notion of using student test scores to evaluate teachers and fewer than 25% believe increased testing will help the performance of local public schools.
Reform efforts such as No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the Common Core State Standards are being nitpicked for their effectiveness as a whole towards students and teachers. In fact, “slightly more than one-third of Americans have ever heard of the Common core; among Americans with children in public schools, fewer than half recognized the Core.” And even among those who were somewhat “knowledgeable” of the Core, the opposing views of the proposed standards made it clear that increased awareness of these standards is essential to the public’s understanding.
In addition to the Common Core, other education proposals target teacher and principal accountability. Findings show that:
- 58% of Americans oppose requiring that teacher evaluations include student scores on standardized tests.
- Almost two out of three Americans oppose releasing information to newspapers about how students of individual teachers perform on standardized tests
- 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
School safety was another topic featured in the poll. While it is encouraging to see the results displaying a strong confidence in school security, there was a strong indication that Americans support increasing mental health services rather than hiring more security guards to promote school safety. CEC supports the increasing of mental health services in schools!
In terms of new styles of schooling, findings showed a push for more public charter schools as well as allowing parents to home school their children. However, there was strong opposition when it came to private school vouchers which would put public education in direct competition with private education, threatening to reduce and reallocate public school funding to private schools. 70% of Americans oppose private school vouchers, and CEC opposes too!
Public schools continue to face the challenges of new education reforms, school safety, and schooling styles, and there are many more issues that still require attention that the poll highlights:
- Lack of financial support (polled at the biggest problem)
- Lack of parental support
- Difficulties in getting good teachers
- Testing requirements and regulations
Education should be at the very top of the president’s agenda. Without proper funding and support, it will be difficult to see any progress in the ways students succeed throughout their school years, particularly those from low income families. Three out of four Americans believe preschool programs for children from low-income households would help these same children perform better in school in their teenage years, and almost two out of three Americans are willing to support these programs with taxes.
Harnessing public opinion will become the most important tool for policy makers to use in deciding future plans for education standards. From the poll, we can conclude that Americans have confidence in the teachers and principals of their public schools and do not support a system where teachers and principals are evaluated on test scores. Therefore, policy makers should invest in systems that will help on improving teaching skills, as well as educating the public about education reform so that the two opposing sides can work together to bring the greatest benefits possible for student achievements.What is your knowledge of the Common Core Standards? Should teachers be evaluated by standardized test scores? Share your thoughts by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org!