Poll results: Invest in public schools

(Bloomington) Herald-Times

In another case of politicians not listening, standardized tests continue to take up a large amount of time in schools.

The public doesn’t like it. Americans believe there’s too much emphasis on standardized testing, according to the 47th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Schools.

The poll measures attitudes about a wide range of issues, and one of the glaring results this year was this: Sixty-four percent of respondents in the statistically reliable poll said there is too much emphasis on standardized tests. The percentage was even higher — 67 percent — for respondents who were parents with children in school.

But even though they don’t like the testing, a large majority of the parents said they wouldn’t let their students opt out of the test.

The disconnect between the public’s view of tests and public policies about testing and other hot issues in education can be seen in other results in the survey as well.

Fifty-five percent of the public opposes including how well a teacher’s students did in standardized testing in evaluations.

The number rises to 63 percent in opposition among parents with kids in school. As teacher evaluations continue to be debated and developed, that’s a point that should be taken into account.

Common Core State Standards are not in favor. Only 24 percent of the public think they should be used to guide what is taught.

While a solid majority supports choice and charter schools, the public has concerns about where public money is spent. Sixty-four percent favor the idea of charter schools, the same percentage that favors allowing parents to choose which public school in their community their child can attend. However, only 31 percent of the public supports allowing students to attend a private school at public expense, while 57 percent oppose the idea.

That’s a big “No” to vouchers, something Indiana has been expanding under Gov. Mike Pence and the GOP supermajorities in the General Assembly.

While critics of American schools can say more funding is not the answer, they are out of step with the public’s view, according to the PDK/Gallup Poll. Lack of financial support is the biggest problem facing the nation’s schools, according to poll respondents.

That answer’s been the same for 10 years.

It’s fair to note this is a national survey in an area — education — that respondents want left to the states. But still, Hoosier lawmakers should take note: The public wants investment in public schools.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to [email protected].