I came across this very interesting article through one of my news feeds. It’s called “What do Americans Really Think About Education Policy?” I think, in a nutshell, we are very confused.
The article discusses issues such as common core, testing, Federal Government funding, and many of the larger issues around education which tend to polarize our populous. What’s interesting is that in two surveys, asking similar questions, but with different wording, very different results are obtained.
For example, one survey shows that 49% of adults support Common Core. The other shows only 24% support it. One survey shows that 25% of adults support allowing kids to opt out of standardized tests, the other shows that 44% do. These are very large differences in polling results, and there were many more than just these two.
It seems that a lack of understanding is a contributor to the differences. For example, most people believe the Federal Government provides a large portion of education funding, when in reality it’s about 10%. That’s a simple, easy to understand number and yet, it’s not well understood. When one starts looking into issues of local control, charter schools vs. traditional schools, school reform, pay for performance, and so on, it gets even blurrier. My assumption is that given 70% of adults do not have kids in K-12, these issues are not very well understood by the general population.
What is the takeaway? Be careful what you read. Educate yourself on education because your understanding of the issues and your vote matters to the future of our educational system. Understand that polling in this area has a wide variety of results, and interpret those results with that understanding in mind. I hope our political leaders understand that as well as they look at poll results and form their positions.