Astute news consumers may have been left with a strange afterthought about this week’s release of the annual Phi Delta Kappa national poll on education—as if something was missing.
As it turns out, something was. The Gallup Organization, PDK’s longtime polling partner, did not conduct the survey, and this year’s report was not identified as the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll.
I conducted my own survey of the relevant parties, and received a response from Joshua P. Starr, who took over as the CEO of Arlington, Va.-based Phi Delta Kappa last year after serving as a school superintendent for many years, most recently in Montgomery County, Md.
“After 47 years of a great relationship with Gallup, it was determined that a new polling partner would be beneficial for the next level of polling work that we plan to do at PDK,” Starr told me via email. “We reviewed multiple proposals from various polling companies and determined that Langer would best suit our needs.”
Langer refers to Langer Research Associates of New York City, which designed and did the analysis for this year’s PDK poll.
Langer is a charter member of the Transparency Initiative of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, according to the methodology page of the PDK poll. (Gallup is also a member.) The PDK methodology page also explains that the surveying itself is conducted by SSRS of Media, Pa., using its SSRS Omnibus national, random-digit-dialed survey of both landlines and cellphones.
Gallup didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the venerable public opinion organization on Aug. 17 issued its own report of U.S. attitudes about education.
The change in polling firms may or may not be significant beyond the parties, but the wording of survey questions about education is a constant source of debate, as education columnist Jay Mathews of The Washington Post recently discussed.
Meanwhile, the journal Education Next, which released its own survey results on K-12 education policy in mid-August (conducted by a polling firm called Knowledge Networks), will hold a forum on Sept. 16 in Washington to mark 10 years of its poll.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.