Gallup-EdWeek Poll: What Superintendents Really Think
While many of the nation's superintendents are optimistic about the potential of the common-core standards and new technology to improve what goes on in classrooms, a healthy percentage are also skeptical about such developments, according to results from the first Gallup-Education Week Superintendents Panel survey.
The Washington-based Gallup organization teamed up with Education Week last year to develop what is envisioned as a four-times-a-year survey.
For this inaugural round, the Gallup pollsters conducted online surveys of more than 12,000 district superintendents around the country between March and April of this year. The 2,586 superintendents who responded are not a nationally representative mix; most lead districts serving between 200 and 500 students. (See Key Findings or Download Entire Survey)
The results show that more than half the respondents—58 percent—believe that the new Common Core State Standards adopted by most states will improve the quality of education in their communities; 75 percent say the shared standards will provide more consistency in educational quality from district to district and state to state.
But 30 percent predict the standards will have no effect on schooling.
And, though the standards were not developed through a federal initiative, many district leaders say more help is needed from the federal government to help with their implementation. Just 2 percent strongly agree that the federal level of support has been adequate.
In the area of technology, the superintendents are slightly more lukewarm. More than four in 10 (44 percent) say the use of technology in the classroom increases student engagement. Fewer—33 percent—strongly agree that "a good teacher who uses advanced technology to teach creates a better student learning environment than a good teacher who does not use advanced technology to teach."
The superintendents also flag principals' professional development as a problem area. Just 17 percent agree that their districts have effective, ongoing professional-development programs for principals.
In the full report, the superintendents weigh in on their districts' teacher-evaluation practices, college-admissions testing, their students' readiness for college and work, and the challenges their districts face in the coming school year.
The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points, according to Gallup.