Is the U.S. public ready for educational change? The 39th Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Survey indicates the answer is “Yes”.
Does the public support fixing the present system or finding an alternative system?
The fact that 72% of the respondents feel that reforming the existing system is the best route to reform should be gratifying for those of us in public education. The general public, has a strong affinity with its schools.
What does the public see as the greatest challenges faced by educators?
The public identifies “lack of financial support/funding/money” more than 2 to 1 over all other problems. While that does not necessarily translate into more funding for schools, it does show that the public is aware of the lack of funding.
The survey also reveals public support for Charter Schools as a pathway to educational reform.
Would the general public support Virtual Schooling?
Although there has been a significant increase (from 30% to 41%) in the number of respondents that approve of virtual schooling, a significant number (58%) disapprove.
The public sees smaller class size, performance-based financial incentives, professional development, and higher beginning salaries as the most effective ways of attracting and keeping qualified teachers.
I have devoted two posts to this survey because I wanted to explore whether the public is supportive of educators, whether they will support meaningful change, and to better understand their positions on the key issues we discuss endlessly on our blogs.
It seems, in the broadest terms, that the public is with us.The question for us is how do we take this very general and passive support for public education and translate it into support for transformational change.
The Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Survey indicates that we have a firm foundation of trust with the public. It is time for leaders to step forward to create a compelling narratives that tap into the concerns of educators, parents, taxpayers (and students); and at the same time paint a clear picture of education in the 21st Century.
In the midst of the many great challenges we face as a nation; support for public education and our schools, remains strong.