Educational policy makers and Washington bureaucrats need to pay attention to the American people they represent. The 45th annual PDK/Gallup poll, Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Education, send a clear message that the American people do not understand or support the very initiatives that are driving our public and public charter schools. Here are three pieces of information from the poll that clearly indicate a lack of support and understanding on the part of the American people.
- Fewer that 25% of Americans believe increased testing has helped the performance of local public schools.
- A majority of Americans reject using student test scores from standardized tests to evaluate teachers.
- Almost 66% of Americans have never heard of the Common Core Standards.
Taken at face value, any knowledgeable person would conclude that there is a MAJOR communication gap between state Departments’ of Education and their citizens, as well as between the federal Department of Education and the American people. It would be wrong to merely blame people for not paying attention to the news. Our policy makers and politicians do a terrible job of engaging the stakeholders who are effected by these programs or whose support is needed to help ensure their success. Most of these programs, Common Core, PARCC, Smarter Balance, and state initiatives to evaluate teachers using student achievement data, are designed by “experts,” often involve corporations driven by profit motives, and implemented by educational bureaucrats. Is it any wonder that typical Americans are clueless?
Who is paying attention to this data? What is being done to better communicate with the very people who need to know: students, parents, teachers, and often principals?
Bob: My sense is that there is a distinct ignoring of the substantive matter of the Common Core and a more intentional attention to the politics of the issue–so sad! Bill
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I do think you are right that at this point we are playing politics with what could be a very critical development in 21st Century education. Having read and studied the Common Core, I am impressed for the most part on the direction it is taking us. However, the politics are obscuring their inherent value. That is why public education on the matter is so important…so the public understands what they are and how they can help move the needle on teaching 21st Century skills. I think we need principals and teachers in the public sector who understand the CCS well and can communicate to their parents (who trust their child’s educators) what they are about. There is work to be done on this.
It is interesting that parents do trust their school’s principal and teachers by and large and can “see through” the political rhetoric of holding teachers accountable by using student achievement (upwards of 50%) as a primary indicator of teacher competency. It may be that parents understand more than policy makers, that a student’s education is impacted by more variables than just the teacher.
Thanks for responding to the post.