Thank you, Professor Becker, for that fascinating article. I am least qualified to comment on it, being:
i) An 'outsider' (an Indian), having only the faintest of connections with issues relating to US education;
ii) Not at all an expert interpreter of such polls;
iii) Somewhat a skeptic about the way such polls are conducted and then about the utility of such polls as they stand; in fact, it is my belief that many such polls lead to more and further errors/misapprehensions in the public mind than it is already subject to (and it is subject to a great many delusions - as we often see right here at Math-teach);
iv) Not much aware about many of the matters polled, e.g. "Common Core", : we in India lag far behind the US in most such matters;
v) Not much aware about 'Pi Delta Kappa' (PDK) and its 'provenance' so to speak. I am aware of course about Gallup - it operates also in India.
Anyway, all said and done, I AM still keenly interested in what the US public thinks, as I am aware that many leaders and opinion makers in 'the field of education in India' (which is my special interest) are much influenced by what goes on in the USA, and by the state of the 'public mind' in the USA.
So here goes...
> -- Two out of three US citizens have never heard about Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Out of those who have, fewer than half believe the new, more rigorous academic goals in English/language arts and mathematics adopted by all but four states so far will make the United States more competitive in the world.
I personally am all for improving the standards in English/language arts and in mathematics. My question is this:
If that is what educators and other stakeholders in US education really do feel is required, why do they not directly set up a project
"To improve, very significantly, the standards...."
- and then effectively work to set up the systems to do just that? I see few if any signs of such a project.
From all the debate I've been looking in on (here at Math-teach and at other forums), there is very little in the way of such needed 'direct action', so to speak, on the issues that people seem to desire.
>-- Ninety-five percent of poll respondents said they think schools should teach critical-thinking skills, one of the main goals of the common standards.
Yes. So why don't they just go ahead and actually DO that? I agree that effective 'critical-thinking skills' are much required all round.
>-- The poll also found eroding support for standardized testing, with fewer than 25 percent of respondents saying they believe increased testing has helped to improve public schools.
Evidently, 'standardized testing' and 'increased testing' are not perceived to have improved public schools.
Why don't the stakeholders in US education actually set up a project "TO IMPROVE OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS" and then seek to find out just how they might learn how to *integrate* the good ideas they DO have in plenty to accomplish that noble goal?
> -- Fewer than 25 percent of respondents saying they believe increased testing has helped to improve public schools.
>-- (There) is a sharp, one-year decline among Americans who favor using student scores on standardized tests as a measure of teachers' job performance. In the 2012 poll, 52 percent of poll respondents said they favored using test scores to evaluate teachers. This year, support dropped to 41 percent.
It seems clear that the public is, increasingly 'NOT buying into the idea' of using student scores on standardized tests' to evaluate teachers.
There are a whole lot of other findings, several of which seem to have implications for what we often see discussed here at Math-teach. In particular:
> -- the public and parents generally have high regard for the teachers and principals in the public schools > -- As has been the case for decades, confidence levels in teachers who work in local schools is high. Seventy percent of respondents said they have trust and confidence in the men and women who teach in public schools, while 65 percent said the same of principals.
Well, THAT'S a relief. It appears that the public and parents generally do NOT see teachers and principals as being a part of that infamous 'Education Mafia' of Haim's. Thus who and what this 'Education Mafia' actually may be and what condign punishment should be visited upon them are still matters for debate.
We're all agreed that bad people should generally be put in jail. However, just who are these bad people (in the field of education, at least) appears to be in some doubt. Haim and his cohorts and consorts will evidently have to define this 'Education Mafia' more sharply.
There are scores of other interesting results available from the poll, which doubtless deserves much more extensive and intensive debate, along with better interpretation than I am able to provide.
Unfortunately, the poll did not directly question the public and the parents on Haim's 'Education Mafia', Professor Bishop's 'schools of education' and the like. That will no doubt be rectified in the next poll.
Anyway, many thanks, Professor Becker, for bringing this news to Math-teach.