A new survey from the Associated Press shows Americans are not buying a lot of the propaganda being passed around about our schools. I briefly mentioned this poll last week. but the referenced news article only mentioned mathematics.
You get that issue – math is important, and the schools don’t teach it well. By a ratio of almost two to one you think that math, not English (which would include writing in this survey) gets insufficient coverage in our schools.
In fact, a huge 77 percent of you think that the schools place emphasis on the wrong subjects. This, of course, goes to the heart of the argument over the enormous amount of time Kentucky spends on writing. Writing is important, but not if we sacrifice coverage of other subjects.
Anyway, I have now located the full poll on line, and you see through a lot more than the math issue. Here are a few highlights:
Education remains a major concern – A whopping 79 percent of you say it is very important or even extremely important. If education was doing its job, I don’t think so many of you would feel this way.
Preparing Students for College – Only about half think we do a good job. In fact, the ratio that thinks we don’t do well is almost equal to the percentage of students entering Kentucky’s public colleges with inadequate preparation. It looks like families talk when an offspring gets hit with extra bills for remedial college courses.
Preparing for the World of Work – A clear majority say we do no better than a fair job.
Measurement Accuracy of Standardized Tests – Only seven percent of you think these tests work very well. So much for confidence in CATS.
Student Discipline – A whopping 90 percent say this is a somewhat to very serious problem.
Low Expectations – A huge 88 percent of you indicate this is a somewhat to very serious problem. Despite all the noise we hear from schools, apparently a lot of teachers still doom kids through the bigotry of low expectations, and you know it.
World Comparisons – Eighty-eight percent of you know that we lag the rest of the world on math and science tests. Just four percent of you think we are catching up.
Worldwide Graduation Rates – The US does no better than the middle of the pack in the overwhelming opinion of 85 percent of you.
There is a lot more in this survey, but I’ll let you check that out for yourself. Of course, opinions in Kentucky might vary from the national averages, but when such overwhelming numbers are involved, I seriously doubt that any of the results would change enough to show we are doing much better here than elsewhere around the country.