Education Next has released its annual survey on American education. The poll of 2,800 respondents included a nationally representative sample of adults. It also included samples of two special populations: public school teachers and adults living in neighborhoods where or more charter schools are located. A brief look at the findings is revealing.
Grading the Schools. Only 18 percent of Americans grade the schools with an A or B. More than a quarter of those polled graded the schools with a D or an F.
Local Schools. For whatever reason, Americans grade their local schools higher. A far higher percentage of respondents – 65 percent – is willing to give their local elementary school one of the two highest grades.
Charter Schools. Forty-four percent of respondents said they favor charter schools. In communities where there was at least one charter school 57 percent of parents favored them. Among African Americans, 64 percent support charter schools. Support for charter schools among Hispanics is at 47 percent.
Vouchers. 31 percent of respondents support a program that would “use government funds to pay the tuition of low-income students…to attend private schools”. Down from 45 percent in 2007.
Tax Credits. Support is higher than vouchers, but is slipping. In 2008, 64 percent favored tax credits. In 2010, the number dropped to 55 percent.
Merit Pay. When asked if, “a teacher’s pay should in part be based on student’s academic progress,” 49 percent of respondents said yes. Up from 43 percent last year.
Teacher Tenure. 47 percent of respondents oppose tenure, 25 percent of respondents favor.
Listeningi to most legislatures, you’d have a hard time believing these numbers.