It's teacher hunting season!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Most Americans approve of local schools : Poll shows

Given the war against public schools from Barack Obama and Arne Duncan to Chris Christie, this is ironic news. So, what gives with the mania to attack teachers?

Most Americans approve of local schools : Poll shows
By James Campbell, on August 17, 2011, at 8:11 am

By Greg Toppo

A new survey finds that more Americans today like their kids’ public schools than at any time in the past 36 years — even though they believe U.S. education in general has taken a bit of a dive.

Nearly eight in 10 Americans — 79% — give an “A or B” grade to the school their oldest child attends, according to findings released today by Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International, an educators association. That’s up from 68% in 2001, and the highest percentage of favorable ratings since PDK began asking the question in 1985. That year, 71% of parents gave their kids’ school top grades.But since 2001, Americans have soured on schools in general: When 1,002 adults were asked June 4-13 to give a letter grade to ”public schools in the nation as a whole,” only 17% gave them an A or B, down from 23% in 2001, and 27% in 1985.The survey is part of broader findings released annually by PDK, which has been polling the public on education trends since the mid-1970s.
Bill Bushaw, the group’s executive director, says the split is the most curious finding. He said parents’ increased liking of their child’s school may be a sign that people are more in tune with local schools’ efforts at educational reform.”I think they see the things that schools are attempting to do to transform,” Bushaw said. Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington, D.C., education think tank, says there’s evidence that many U.S. public schools are improving. But he says parents’ willingness to like their child’s school may stem from a kind of guilt — especially if parents can afford to pay for a private school or have moved to a neighborhood with higher-performing schools.”Who’s going to give their kid’s school a low grade unless they’re poor and they’re trapped?” he says. “There’d just be too much cognitive dissonance to admit that your child’s school” isn’t up to par. The overall drop in opinion of U.S. schools coincides with reports that the quality of schools in the USA is slipping compared to other nations.

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