Student Achievement Opinion

PDK/Gallup Release Annual Poll on Education

By Emily Douglas-McNab — August 20, 2014 2 min read
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For the past two years, I have blogged about the release of the annual PDK/Gallup Poll, which offers interesting insights about the public’s views on various issues, from education funding to teacher performance to school safety. In 2013, we learned a great deal about American’s views on the Common Core State Standards, online opportunities for learning, extracurricular activities, and safety, and in 2012, we gleaned a glimpse of people’s views on college and career readiness, vouchers, the federal budget, bullying, and control of failing schools.

Today, Gallup and PDK released results from their 46th Annual Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools based on a national sample of 1,001 U.S. adults. Due to the amount of information gathered this year, Gallup/PDK will share findings in two reports, one in August and the other in October.

In my opinion, the core issues found in the first report boil down to this point: control.

As authors William J. Bushaw and Valeria J. Calderon note, “Deep in this nation’s DNA is an abiding belief in personal liberty and freedom, and, for much of our history, these values often have conflicted with national and state policies. In public education, this conflict plays out under the guise of local control, that is, who should be most responsible for the quality of public education? Should it be the local school district, which is typically governed by a board of education; or state authorities, which usually include the governor, state legislature, and a state board of education; or is public education policy ultimately the responsibility of the President and Congress?”

This first report reveals current opinions on topics, such as the Common Core, testing, international comparisons of student achievement, governance structures, and school charters and vouchers (always a hot topic)!

What I always think is interesting about this information is how, at times, the responses from those surveyed are in conflict with each other. I encourage you to read the report and think about how these findings match your own beliefs. If some of the results surprise you, ask yourself why there are differing points of view. Is it a communications issue? A training issue? A political one? How can we break down barriers and collaborate to build the best school improvement strategies to prepare all students to be ready for success--whatever their path may be?

I know some who would agree with the survey results and others who would not. But, one thing is for sure--the world of education is changing and having conversations around the big issues facing policymakers, education leaders, parents, and students is important. I look forward to reading the opinions voiced in the second half of the report when it is released in October.

Please share your thoughts on the poll results in the comments section below or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #K12Talent.

‘Education’ image above from FreeDigitalPhotos.net user Serge Bertasius Photography.

The opinions expressed in K-12 Talent Manager are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.