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National PTA Reacts to Findings from Second Part of 2014 PDK/Gallup Opinion Poll on the Nation's Public Schools

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Sept. 16, 2014) — Today, PDK and Gallup released the results from the second part of the 2014 Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The findings align with top priorities of National PTA and demonstrate a need for long-term investments in teachers, the importance of ensuring that all children have access to a high quality public education, and the essential role of parents in supporting student success and continuous school improvement

According to the poll, Americans’ approach to improve public education is centered on investments in teachers. Americans support more rigorous entrance requirements for those enrolling in teacher preparation programs; they believe student teaching should be at least a year in length or longer; they support national board certification for teachers; and they support teacher evaluation approaches that emphasize improving professional skills.

National PTA maintains that effective instruction and family-school collaboration are essential components of student success and school improvement. The association recognizes that teacher preparation is a critical investment in children. National PTA encourages and supports adequately funded teacher preparation programs that initiate and strengthen professional excellence in instruction, teaching techniques, academic knowledge, human understanding, critical thinking, technology, and parent and community involvement. The association also supports effective, fair and meaningful teacher evaluation systems that improve the capacity of educators and families to enhance student learning and academic achievement.

In addition to supporting investments in teachers, 56% of Americans polled favor providing public education to children of undocumented immigrants.

“National PTA has long believed that every child residing in the United States, regardless of his or her immigration status, has the right of access to a high quality public education,” said Otha Thornton, president of National PTA. “Whether children of undocumented immigrants or the unaccompanied children who have been entering the United States, National PTA remains deeply committed to take action to ensure that every child has access to education and services that will enable him or her to reach his or her full potential and become a productive member of society.”

Americans also support changes to the way public schools operate, according to findings of the poll. About four of 10 Americans agree that the school calendar should include a shorter summer break with longer breaks at other times of the year. More than 80% of Americans also agree that high school students should receive more education about possible career choices. Additionally, most Americans (58%) indicated that the school curriculum used in their community needs to change.

“The findings of the 2014 poll show there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their highest potential,” added Thornton. “As the oldest and largest child advocacy association in the country, it is a top priority of National PTA to work with parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders and elected officials to improve education and make a difference for the lives and futures of our nation’s children.”

About National PTA

National PTA comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.