The 46th Annual PDK Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released today, including an extended section on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

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The results of this poll show that we have much work to do in better informing the public about CCSS and other education issues. Unlike last year when the poll told us two-thirds of the respondents never heard of the Common Core State Standards, this year, an overwhelming majority of Americans (80 percent) have heard about CCSS while nearly half indicated they ‘heard a great deal or a fair amount.’ However, the poll found over half (60 percent) oppose the Common Core.

Much of the opposition is likely rooted in media portrayal of the standards and misinformation. According to the poll, 40 percent of respondents believe the standards are ‘not challenging enough.’ This differs drastically from the view of superintendents. According to our own survey (Common Core and other State Standards, June 2014), nearly all (93 percent) of the superintendents participating replied that the new standards are more challenging than previous standards. Three quarters of our members also replied the political debate has gotten in the way of implementing the new standards.

Another poll, released yesterday by Education Next, also found support for CCSS slipping. However, the public remains very supportive of the standards if the name “Common Core” is not attached. This illustrates the politicization of the standards and the power of the media over public opinion.

Overall, the PDK/Gallup poll’s findings back the position of AASA when it comes to Common Core—to slow down to get it right to ensure schools and teachers have the resources they need to successfully implement the standards and aligned assessments to bolster student learning. Superintendents, according to our survey, remain optimistic about CCSS.

The poll also reveals that the public sees the lack of financial support as a huge concern facing our public schools. We know that public school district budgets have yet to reach pre-recession levels, meaning they are operating with limited budgets to educate 50 million students a year, many of whom live in poverty. We need to acknowledge that poverty is a reality in America that continues to be the dominating factor when determining student achievement.

 

A large majority (two-thirds) of Americans polled continue to oppose school vouchers. This highlights that respondents view vouchers as the ineffective, flawed policies that they are, both lacking accountability to tax payers and discriminating against students with special needs. While the public also remains supportive of charter schools, the poll also revealed widespread misunderstanding of the nature of charter schools.

 


Perhaps the most telling aspect of the poll was the response that not one Superintendent was contacted or involved in the development of Common Core.

No wonder there is much confusion, opposition and slow implementation when the very people who do and supervise the work are excluded from the beginning.

In no other profession would the experts and practitioners be so lowly regarded that not one would be invited to participate.

Sadly, non or tangential participation of actual educators is a pattern of the "Reform" movement and their litany of failed ideas.

I believe it is time for IASA to stand together and take back and put right the direction of public education in the USA.

We know what works for our students and communities and we have proven to be successful when we are resolved to work together.
Posted by: Dr. Geoffrey M. Thomas at 8/20/2014 5:35 PM


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