Shifting the Conversation About Teaching – A Response to the 2012 PDK/Gallup Poll
The 44th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward Public Schools released today highlights key areas where we can work together to make changes to support and improve our public schools.
While respondents are divided on some key policy issues, almost 90% agree that it is important to close the achievement gap, and that we can do so without lowering standards. At the same time, many agree that we need to do a better job of preparing students to succeed in college and career pursuits.
What is encouraging here is the common goal of high standards and rigor – the poll also found that half of respondents believe that teacher preparation should be more rigorous and selective – which tracks with NCTAF’s work to elevate the teaching profession through collaboration and professional development. The poll also shows that teachers are already doing much of what we’d like to see – 63% of parents say teachers are making schoolwork relevant and providing students with the opportunity to do what he or she does “best” every day at school.
We can make great strides toward these goals by leveraging the public’s confidence in the potential of their own schools and teachers to improve teaching and learning. For the third year in a row, the poll found that three out of four Americans have trust and confidence in public school teachers. Almost half of Americans give the schools in their community an A or a B. We can leverage this positive opinion for real school improvement by facilitating additional community and support for teachers – a process that NCTAF has found makes teachers even more effective (see Learning Studios for examples).
It’s time to team up to improve teaching and learning!
When we move away from teacher bashing and shift the conversation to a focus on innovative teacher preparation for new teachers and continuous high quality professional development for veteran teachers, we will elevate teaching to a rewarding and highly sought after profession.