Poll: Majority reject high stakes testing

American policy makers are forging ahead with education initiatives, but they may be leaving Americans behind and out of the loop.

Since 1969 Gallup and Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK), a global association of education professionals, has conducted the annual Poll of the Public’s Attitude Toward the Public Schools. This years poll continues to show the public is rejecting the corproate education reform agenda

The poll notes that

Results of the poll come in a time of unsettledness in the American education franchise. Recent major reform efforts — No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and the Common Core State Standards — face uncertain futures even as the poll lays bare a significant rift between policy makers and ordinary citizens and parents. For example:
• Fewer than 25% of Americans believe increased testing has helped the performance of local public schools.
• A majority of Americans reject using student scores from standardized tests to evaluate teachers.

Q: Some states require that teacher evaluations include how well a teacher’s students perform on standardized tests. Do you favor or oppose this requirement?

2013 2012
Favor 41 52
Oppose 58 47
Don't Know/refused 1 1

As you can see from the table above, the oppostion is growing larger. There is also large opposition to newspapers publishing teachers value-added scores, something the Plain Dealer and NPR did in Ohio this year, and which JTF condemned.

Q: Some newspapers are releasing information about how the students of individual teachers perform on standard- ized tests. Do you favor or oppose the release of this informa- tion to the public?

2013 2011
Favor 37 51
Oppose 63 48
Don't Know/refused 0 1

The poll also finds that

  • More than 70% of Americans have “trust and confidence” in public school educators.
  • A majority give public schools in their community an ‘A’ or “B’ – the highest rating every recorded by the poll.
  • Seventy percent of Americans oppose private school vouchers —another high mark for the Gallup survey.
  • Overwhelmingly, Americans do not worry about their child’s safety while attending school. Asked about ways to promote school safety, respondents preferred greater access to mental health services over the hiring more security guards.
  • Americans chose critical thinking skills as the most important 21st Century skill, followed closely by communications skills.

You can read the entire poll here