LaWanda Toney, Director of Strategic Communications
National PTA Reacts to PDK/Gallup
Opinion Poll on Public Education
Calls for greater advocacy on Common Core,
school safety, and education funding
ALEXANDRIA, VA (August 21, 2013)—Today’s PDK/Gallup poll on the American public’s attitudes toward public schools aligns with many of the National PTA’s top advocacy issues, demonstrating a clear role for parents in support of their child’s education.
National PTA maintains that a robust and collaborative education effort is needed around the Common Core State Standards. The poll found that only 45 percent of parents with students in public school have ever heard of Common Core, ranking slightly above the national average of 38 percent. Of those who have heard of Common Core, follow-up questions revealed a troubling lack of knowledge about the standards.
National PTA has found that parents are more likely to support Common Core implementation when they have complete and accurate information. It is essential for educators, administrators, superintendents, and state departments of education to rally in support of comprehensive Common Core education in order to ensure successful implementation. To date, 45 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily implemented Common Core.
Poll participants identified increased mental health services as the most effective way to promote school safety, while responses were evenly mixed on the presence of armed guards in schools. National PTA endorses efforts to establish comprehensive community mental health facilities to provide preventive and treatment services to children and adults. “Families need to be engaged in developing policies intended to ensure our children’s safety at school,” explains National PTA President Otha Thornton. “Sustained and meaningful family engagement ensures that every student has a voice and no young person is left without an advocate.”
This year’s poll participants have again identified lack of financial support as the biggest problem facing public schools today. It has led the list of challenges since 2002. While many PTAs have stepped up to help meet the basic needs for their school community, budget cuts to education are too deep. Lack of parental support ranked third, signaling that poll participants agree with National PTA’s mission: family engagement is fundamental to student success.
Despite challenges, more than half of survey participants gave public schools in their community an A- or B-grade, while giving a C to public schools nationally. The grade for community public schools is the highest-ever recorded, while the nation’s grade is consistent with years past, showing there is still plenty of work to be done to ensure that every child reaches his or her potential.
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. Learn more at PTA.org.