Poll: Parents Want an End to the Testing Obsession

parents view on standardized testingEducators are pushing back against high stakes testing across the nation, and, according to a new poll, parents are on their side. The 2014 PDK/Gallup Annual Survey on the Public’s Attitude Toward Public Schools, released on Wednesday, finds that an overwhelming majority of parents (68 percent) do not believe that standardized tests help teachers know what to teach.

The survey’s message is clear, says NEA President-Elect Lily E. García: Enough is enough.

“Students and teachers continue to lose more and more class time to testing and test preparation, and that time should be spent teaching and learning a rich, engaging curriculum,” explained García. “The serious consequences of these toxic tests will only snowball unless parents, educators and community members push back against lawmakers determined to tie high-stakes decisions to fill-in-the-bubble tests.”

The PDK/Gallup survey also found that the Common Core State Standards have gained greater visibility over the past year, with over 80 percent of respondents having heard about the standards and 47 percent saying they have heard a “great deal or a fair amount.” (In 2012, just one-third had heard of them.) About 60 percent of Americans currently oppose the standards.

According to the poll, however, about half of Americans first heard about the Common Core from television, newspapers, and radio. On the other hand, only 17 percent learned about the standards from teachers or other education professionals. Consequently, misinformation and confusion has permeated the dialogue.

Combined with the poor implementation on the ground in many districts, says García, it’s not surprising that the public hasn’t rallied behind the standards.

“They are victims of targeted misinformation campaigns. Some on the far right have turned high standards for all students into a political football,” said García. “Our students’ futures aren’t a game. These standards are an opportunity for all students to have access to a great education. ”

Other key findings in the poll:
• 32 percent say lack of financial support is the No. 1 challenge facing public schools. Concerns about standards and discipline problems each received 9 percent.
• 50 percent of Americans give the schools in their communities either an A or B, with parents awarding local schools even higher marks.
• Two-thirds of Americans oppose public school vouchers.

The PDK/Gallup poll is a scientifically based survey of 1,001 Americans 18 years and older and is conducted annually. This year, the results are being released in two stages. The second report – issued on October – willl focus on preparing and evaluating teachers, support for reforming America’s schools, student well-being, and preparing students for college and careers.
Read the August report here.

  • “Our students’ futures aren’t a game. These standards are an opportunity for all students to have access to a great education. ”

    Evidence, such as this, is irrefutable:

    Dr. Sandra Stotosky- Invalid Process of Common Core Development

    James Milgram- Common Core’s Effect on Math Education

    As a parent in California, I know that the holes in math and language arts as exhibited by C Core standards, necessitate going back to either California standards or adopting Massachusetts standards.

    As a parent, it is apparent to me that Common Core is ill conceived, with the intent of violating my child’s privacy and assuring that he is NOT college ready.

    Once, again, that is based on my research, my examination of the evidence.

  • Ken Alston

    We can ALL learn from what Finland is doing with school education… superb example of what schools and education should be like… high standards, shorter school hours, an example of the highest quality from which every country can learn. Read “Finnish Lessons” by Pasi Sahlberg as a starting point… don’t leave it for later but read NOW or asap.

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  • Dcn William Gallerizzo

    A real problem of the current standardized test obsession is that students are held to no level of responsibility for their own learning. Subjects are seen as objectives, but the overall picture of where it fits into life is lost. The ability to rationally solve problems and overcome difficulty does not fit into the “Black/White” mentality of objective testing. The student then is synonymous with a product that meets a standard. Most young teachers of today, probably do not see this because they grew up in a time of “No Child Left Behind” which ushered in this obsession. It devalued children, and eventually the adults they were to become. Importance came in numbers of correct answers, not knowledge and ability to use that knowledge. Hence the tendency in our tendency in our society today to develop one’s own reality, that is often in conflict with the real world. It is little wonder that risk and deviant behaviors are way up percentage-wise in relation to the past. For many of our young people, reality comes in the form of a video game and not in learning to do for real. Just watch how people drive. It’s easy to see scenarios out of Need For Speed played out on the roads, and then they wonder why they get pulled over; they just cannot see what they were doing wrong. A good place to start is the go back to real learning for the sake of learning and for critical thinking. Our world will be a lot safer and more productive.

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