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Public Ambivalent about Education Reforms

By    |   Wednesday, 21 August 2013 10:09 AM

A trio of new polls on public education found Americans have mixed views on many of the reforms now underway.

"Neither the defenders of the status quo nor those proposing major changes in education policy have achieved a public-opinion breakthrough in 2013," wrote Paul Peterson, a Harvard professor and editor of the policy journal Education Next, published by the Hoover Institution, which conducted one of the surveys.

A second came from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The third, released Wednesday, was the PDK/Gallup Poll, sponsored by Phi Delta Kappa International, a trade association for educators.

In general, all three surveys found that parents want a degree of choice in education and still back charter schools; they agree that students should be held back a year or not be given a high school diploma if they fail to pass state exit exams; and they want more funding for local schools, according to Politico.

On the other hand, parents are wary of voucher programs that use federal funds to help families pay private school tuition, and they aren't convinced that teachers' salaries and performance evaluations should be tied to student test scores.

One of the key findings was that Americans do not know enough about the new Common Core academic standards, a set of uniform benchmarks for reading, writing and math, that have been fully adopted in most states and are being put in place this school year

"We've got to do a much better job communicating the importance of Common Core," said William Bushaw, executive director of PDK International.

All three polls surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 adults, although the AP-NORC poll included only parents of public school students.

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A trio of new polls on public education found Americans have mixed views on many of the reforms now underway.
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 10:09 AM
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