Friday, September 06, 2013

What Americans Think About Public Education

I did link the latest Gallup poll on what Americans think about public education but it deserves an updated reprint.

First, from Gallup itself, the highlights:

Common Core
Most Americans don’t know about the Common Core and those who do don’t understand it.

To note:
 Of those Americans who had heard of the Common Core, many said — erroneously — that the standards are based on a blending of state standards, that the federal government is insisting that all states adopt the standards, and that there is a plan to create standards in all academic areas.

School Safety
Kids are safe at school. Don’t give teachers and principals guns to protect children; invest in better
mental health services rather than weapons .

Charter Schools
Charter schools probably offer a better education than traditional public schools.


Online Learning
High school students should be able to earn college credits via the Internet while attending high school.

Biggest Problem
Lack of financial support continues to be the biggest problem facing public schools .


To note:

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.
Students whose parents are not legal residents
Children of immigrants who are in the United States illegally should not have access to free public education.

Vouchers
Don’t spend public money to send children to private schools.

Testing
The significant increase in testing in the past decade has either hurt or made no difference in improving schools.  Students’ standardized test scores should not be used to evaluate teachers.

Teacher evaluations
Teacher evaluations should be available to the public — and so should evaluations of doctors and police.



High School Diploma
Most Americans believe dropouts are unprepared for careers but they also think that of high school graduates readiness for college or career.


School in your Community
A majority of American 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 national a B or better.
(It's kind of like the polling for Congress; hate Congress, love their representative/senator.)

To note:
Parents agree that their child has a higher level of well-being because of the school he or she attends,
that schools are doing a good job helping children build stronger relationships with friends and family members, and that schools help students become healthier and more involved in the community.


On the other hand, parents believe schools do a poor job teaching children how to manage their finances more effectively.


Trust
Americans trust public school teachers and principals.  

To note:
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.

Pre-school
They said preschool programs for low-income children would help those students perform better in school in their teenage years.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Umm... My parents opened my bank account, taught me how to save, took me into the bank to make deposits when I earned money, taught me how to keep my little savings ledger book up to date, helped me open a checking account when. Was old enough and taught me how to write checks and balance it. Same with most of my friends. Not sure why managing finances is a school's responsibility? To me that falls under a life skill like learning how clean house, wash your clothes, and cook meals. (Growing up we weren't rich and spent several years doing our laundry in a laundromat until my mom had the money to buy a used avocado green washer/dryer set, so please don't say it's an SES thing.)

CT

Melissa Westbrook said...

CT, I thought a little weird, too. Why is that the job of schools?

Anonymous said...

"There are three compelling reasons why we must improve our schools:
We have a moral and ethical obligation to provide every student with the best education, the kind of education that we would want for our own children.
In a knowledge economy, the country with the best-educated populace will have the highest standard of living.
Every dropout as well as every graduate who is not prepared for at least some post-secondary education and training is and will continue to be an economic and social burden on their local community and on this nation for their entire life."

From: The Principal Difference piece about school performance, comparing U.S. PISA scores and poverty rates to other countries -- and pointing out that we aren't doing so badly.

http://nasspblogs.org/principaldifference/2010/12/pisa_its_poverty_not_stupid_1.html

Ann D.

TWY said...

Thanks for posting, fascinating on so many levels. It made me sit back and think about nuances of our system(s), in all its (their federalist) complexity. We tend to grab onto blanket statements about how the sky is falling (or not) or grasp for silver bullets. But our task is to see through the emotion that colors everything (eg. my school is an A or B but everyone else is lower, Charter schools are inherently better) and really evaluate the data that can help us really fix very real problems.

Anonymous said...

Anne D., the article you cited is focused on PISA reading scores. My understanding is that the greater concern is not with reading in the US but with math and science. Amanda Ripley claims in her new book that even if you control for poverty, US students are mediocre in math and science as compared to the rest of the world.

DWE