District Chiefs Split on Standards Readiness, Gallup-EdWeek Poll Finds

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Fewer than half of superintendents surveyed believe that teachers in their school districts are well prepared for teaching the Common Core State Standards, according to results from two new Gallup/Education Week polls in which district leaders express some widely divergent results.

For example, while just 44 percent of the superintendents surveyed said teachers were well prepared to teach to the more-rigorous learning goals, slightly more of them—50 percent—reported that teachers were ready to provide support to students who needed extra help with the standards, such as English-language learners.

The Washington-based Gallup organization has partnered with Education Week over the past year to regularly survey K-12 district leaders on a range of pressing issues in public schooling. For the current surveys, more than 12,000 district superintendents around the country were queried in online polls conducted by Gallup last October and December. The roughly 1,900 superintendents who replied to each of the two surveys are not a nationally representative mix.

Teacher Evaluations Unsettled

Besides common-core readiness, the schools chiefs weighed in on how to judge public school systems, and educational technology, and expressed an array of views on how best to rate the success of teachers and schools.

Key Findings

For example, 62 percent of schools chiefs said they don't believe that student performance should be the most important factor in evaluating teachers, but 34 percent said that it should be. Forty-two percent of superintendents reported that the best measure of a district's success is the share of its students who go on to complete any type of post-high-school credential, 15 percent said high school graduation rates count most, and 11 percent said student results on state assessments do. Just 3 percent of superintendents agreed that a district's success should be judged by the number of students who enroll in a four-year college or university.

Nearly three-quarters of the superintendents reported that they think the rules around teacher evaluations in their districts are hardly a settled matter, especially in light of decisions by the U.S. Department of Education to give states with No Child Left Behind Act waivers an extra year before they must factor student growth on state tests into personnel decisions.

Fifty-five percent of the schools chiefs agreed that their districts have the necessary resources in place to handle a significant increase in technology use, while 45 percent of them reported that the uptick in the use of educational technology has sparked greater concerns in their districts about student privacy and data security.

Vol. 33, Issue 35, Page 10

Published in Print: June 11, 2014, as District Leaders Split On Common Core
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