Constant changes to education policy, funding cuts, testing, charter schools, and political rhetoric may play well on 30-second sound bites, but most parents would prefer to see their neighborhood schools improved instead. Hart Research Associates surveyed 1,000 parents this month and found that most would rather see neighborhood schools strengthened and given more resources than have options to enroll their children elsewhere.
Sixty-one percent of parents polled opposed closing low-performing schools and 58 percent opposed lengthening the school day. The poll shows that while education has become a favorite political football for GOP legislators and talking heads fronting for charter school companies and testing conglomerates, many parents aren’t buying the rhetoric. The constant harangue from the right to blame teachers for low student performance and the insistence of ever more testing does not sit well with many parents, though whether education policy makers will actually listen is anybody’s guess.
There are billions of dollars at stake in the constant and abusive testing of public school students. The companies involved, like Pearson Assessment and others, are spending a great deal to buy legislators at the state and federal levels. Their only interest is to stay in business despite the damage the constant testing is doing to students. That this survey clearly shows a lack of support for the current moves in public education is a good sign. What the movers and shakers do with such information is another issue entirely.
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