National PTA Reacts to PDK/Gallup Opinion Poll
on the Nation’s Public Schools
ALEXANDRIA, Va. () — Today, PDK and Gallup released the results from the 2014 Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The findings demonstrate a clear need for an ongoing education effort around the Common Core State Standards and student assessment as well as a continued need for greater investments in education, which align with top priorities of National PTA to support and empower parents and ensure that all children have the opportunity to succeed.
According to the poll, 60 percent of Americans oppose requiring teachers to use the Common Core to guide what they teach, believing the standards limit the flexibility teachers have to teach what they think is best. Additionally, while most educators believe the Common Core State Standards are challenging, 40 percent of Americans disagree, saying the standards are not challenging enough. Most Americans indicated in the poll that they first heard about the Common Core from television, newspapers and radio; far smaller percentages said they learned about the standards through school communications, such as websites or newsletters or from teachers and other education professionals.
“The Common Core State Standards increase rigor in every school, are internationally benchmarked and relevant to the real world, and reflect the knowledge and skills students need to compete globally and excel in their studies and the workplace. National PTA is confident that the standards are a significant improvement over previous state standards and an essential tool to ensure every child receives a high quality education that prepares him or her for success upon graduation from high school,” said Otha Thornton, president of National PTA. “Although Americans differ in their views about the Common Core, National PTA remains committed to working closely with educators, administrators, policymakers and other stakeholders to provide complete and accurate information about the standards, increase understanding of the standards and new assessments, and support families and communities every step of the way as the Common Core are implemented in classrooms across the country.”
In addition to opposing the use of the Common Core State Standards, 54 percent of Americans polled said that standardized tests aren’t helpful to teachers. Parents feel even more strongly about this.
This year’s poll participants again identified lack of financial support as the biggest problem facing public schools in America. This has led the list of challenges since 2002. Other challenges most often mentioned by respondents include concerns about curriculum standards, student discipline, and getting and keeping good teachers.
Despite their concerns, 50 percent of Americans surveyed gave the schools in their communities either an A or B grade. These grades have remained consistent over the last few years. On the other hand, Americans gave the nation’s schools significantly lower grades, with more than 80 percent assigning them a C or lower grade.
“It is a top priority of National PTA to work with the Administration and Congress and continue to advocate for greater financial support for education,” added Thornton. “Education is a vital investment in our children, families, communities and nation, and the findings of this year’s poll show there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.
Heidi May, National PTA
Since all of the news started of the situation in Ferguson the membership of the Missouri PTA family has been asking what you could do to help the schools and community of the Ferguson community. The task has become greater this week as the events still unfold and the schools remain closed. We learned today of the following requests being made and wanted to share to those of you that would like to help and support the children, school communities and residents of the community.
A number of St. Louis area nonprofits are coordinating efforts to provide supplies and services that are needed in Ferguson. Donations of non-perishable food items, personal care items including diapers, soap, shampoo, hygiene products, and bottled water are needed for community members who have been unable to reach stores. Items can be brought to The Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry 10601 Baur Blvd. Creve Coeur, 63132, which will deliver the collected items to food pantries in the Ferguson area. Several additional nonprofit organizations, including the United Way, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Urban League of Metro St. Louis, the St. Louis Area Food Bank and others will be staffing a Community Resource Drop-In Center at the Dellwood Community Center, 10266 West Florissant Avenue, from Wednesday to Sunday, August 20-24, from 10 am to 2 pm. Respite, hot meals, children’s activities, case management services and individual emergency assistance will be available.
Or, donate to the nonprofit of your choice. The St. Louis Regional Business Council(RBC) has organized a fund to provide relief to small businesses affected by the unrest in Ferguson. The Reinvest North County Fund, which received an initial $10,000 donation from the RBC, will also provide school districts in the area with "appropriate resources," according to a statement from the group. Donations can be made to North County Regional Development Association, 350B Village Square Drive, Hazelwood, MO 63042.