"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Summary of 38th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll

From Michael Martin, who posted his summary of the poll to EDDRA:

My summary of The 38th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools: (see at: http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/kpollpdf.htm)

* Very few Americans consider public schools to be failing. Only 14 percent of the public gave their community schools a grade of "D" or "F" and only 9 percent gave those grades to "the school your oldest child attends."

* The two "biggest problems the public schools of your community must deal with" are "Lack of financial support/funding/money" (24 percent) and "overcrowded schools" (13 percent).

* 70 percent agreed that the problems currently facing public schools in their community were "the effect of societal problems" rather than "the performance of the local schools."

* 77 percent agreed that the "achievement gap between white students and black and Hispanic students" is "mostly related to other factors" than to "the quality of schooling received."

* 78 percent of those asked to "assume" their child attended a failing school said they would rather "have additional efforts made in your child's present school" than transfer their children from that failing school.

* 73 percent of the public favors a requirement for students to take four years of mathematics in high school, including two years of algebra beginning as early as the eighth grade.

* 63 percent of parents with students in school thought that high schools should "offer students a wide variety of courses" rather than "concentrate on fewer basic courses such as English, mathematics, history, and science."

* Only 12 percent of those familiar with NCLB had a "very favorable" opinion of the act compared to nearly double (23 percent) who had a "very unfavorable" opinion.

* 68 percent of those polled who were familiar with NCLB felt it was either hurting or not helping their community schools.

* 82 percent of those familiar with NCLB said they were worried "A great deal" or "A fair amount" that emphasizing English and Math would "mean less emphasis on art, music, history, and other subjects."

* 72 percent of those familiar with NCLB opposed using "a single test" in "determining whether a public school is or is not in need of improvement."

* 80 percent favored measuring "a school's performance" by looking at "the improvement students in the school make during the year" instead of "the percentage of students passing the test."

* 79 percent opposed making Special Education students "meet the same academic standards as all other students."

Michael T. Martin
Research Analyst
Arizona School Boards Association
2100 N. Central Ave, Suite 200
Phoenix, Az 85004
602-254-1100 1-800-238-4701

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