Survey shows parents support public schools
A new nationwide survey shows that parents overwhelmingly believe that strong neighborhood public schools are a better choice for our children than vouchers or charter schools.
The survey was conducted July 9-14, 2013, by Hart Research Associates. Pollsters interviewed 1,003 parents living in urban, suburban and rural areas and who identify themselves as Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
Highlights of the nationwide parent poll showed that the best approach for improving education (77 percent) is to focus on ensuring that every child has access to a good public school in his or her community; just 20 percent said there should be more public charter schools and vouchers.
Seventy-four percent said it is important for schools to offer a well-rounded curriculum, including art, music and physical education; only 18 percent said schools should focus more on teaching reading and math and spend less time on subjects less important for success in college.
Fifty-four percent said schools should focus on teaching the whole child, including his or her emotional and social development, as well as academics; 35 percent said schools should focus on teaching basic academics.
And as for emphasis on testing, 57 percent said there is too much testing; 64 percent said their state’s standardized tests do not accurately measure student achievement; 59 percent of parents said their child has felt worried or anxious about taking standardized tests; and 57 percent said testing has taken away too much time from teaching and learning.
Overwhelming parental support for the following elements of an education agenda included providing extra resources to turn around struggling neighborhood schools; holding charter schools accountable; providing more support/training for struggling teachers; expanding/improving new-teacher mentoring; reducing class sizes, especially in the early grades; making public schools hubs of the neighborhood with longer hours, academic help and health services for families; providing extra pay for teachers in hard-to-staff schools; and ensuring access to high-quality preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds.
Parents voiced disapproval of the following reforms, including 79 percent disapproval of reducing salaries and benefits for teachers and other school employees; 76 percent objection to reducing spending on regular public schools and increasing spending on charters; 61 percent opposition to closing down low-performing public schools and assigning students to other schools; 60 percent rejection to ending additional teacher pay for advanced degrees; 58 percent disapproval of a longer school day; 53 percent opposition to a longer school year; and 56 percent opposition to taxpayer-funded vouchers for private school tuition.
Lastly, when asked who has the right ideas for public education, 81 percent of parents said they believe teachers have the right ideas for their public schools; 77 percent said principals have the right ideas; 70 percent gave the nod to parent organizations; 39 percent said their governor has the right ideas; 37 percent had confidence in mayors/local officials; and 33 percent said business owners/corporate executives have the right ideas.
Share your thoughts about the results of this survey by emailing your “Letter to the Editor” to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your letter to P.O. Box 910, Jennings, LA 70546.
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