Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some Good News For Teachers

Edutopia discussed a recent poll about parents attitudes about public schools.  The results are somewhat encouraging.  71 percent of those polled gave the school of their oldest child an "A" or a "B."  There seems to be a bit of "everyone else's schools stink, but ours is pretty awesome."  
(these numbers drop substantially when it comes to the national level, perhaps because of the media's rhetoric -- a mere 18 percent give the nation's schools as a whole an "A" or a "B").
 Even after Newton and South Dakota and other states pass an arm the teachers, principal, and the custodians bills, parents feel that their child's school is safe.
In addition, even in the wake of Newtown, parents perceive their child's school as safe -- just 12 percent indicated they feared for their child's safety at school. This is a dramatic improvement from years past -- in 1998, 36 percent feared for their child's safety at school; in 1977, 25 percent did....
The public believes that providing more mental health services would be more effective in promoting school safety than hiring more security guards (59 percent to 33 percent). What they do not want: Armed teachers and administrators -- 47 percent strongly disagreed with allowing elementary school teachers and administrators to be armed, and 43 percent strongly disagreed with allowing middle/junior high and high school teachers and administrators to be armed.
 I wonder if Mitchell Christian did a poll asking parents if they thought their school was unsafe.

What warms my heart the most is that a majority of parents feel that tying teacher's evaluations to test scores is a bad idea.
In just the past year, the public's thoughts on educator accountability have changed dramatically: 58 percent now oppose requiring teacher evaluations to include student performance on standardized tests (up from 47 percent in 2012), and 63 percent oppose the release of information on how the students of individual teachers perform on standardized tests to the public (up from 48 percent in 2012).
DO YOU HEAR that South Dakota legislative members?  I hope you listen more to the people and less to ALEC.


  1. I hope I'm wrong, but I get the feeling that our legislators are three or four years behind the times on this one.

    I wonder if some of it is the native South Dakota frugality; we just spent a pile of money to be sure that teachers get evaluated with tests, we're going to get our money's worth and consequences be damned.

  2. I worry that it will be more, polls don't matter. I heard this expert at the ALEC convention and she said that the only way to improve our failing education is to allow for vouchers and fire all teachers that don't get high scores on the test.

    I can only hope that information like this will provide some ammunition to fight against the pushing model.