Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Staring Down Policy Makers

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Staring Down Policy Makers

Article excerpt

Every mother's child knows The Look. The Look tells children they are on their mom's last nerve. The Look says, "Don't push me, I've had about enough of this." The Look may vary from mom to mom, but every mom has one - and every kid knows it.


Right now, I'd say Americans are giving policy makers The Look.

In the most recent PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, Americans are saying that as policy makers forge ahead with education initiatives they're leaving Americans behind and out of the loop.

This year's poll revealed that Americans are largely unaware of the Common Core State Standards and that even the small number who think they know about the standards don't really understand them. They also don't believe that the increasing emphasis on testing is improving education --77% said testing has either hurt or made no difference in education. Significantly, Americans also reject another trendy idea: that teacher evaluations should be based on how well a teacher's students did on standardized tests.

Let me make clear my bias about the Core: I want America to give the Common Core a chance to succeed. Done correctly, the Core can infuse equity and consistency into a system that desperately needs them. Yes, other supports will be necessary, and, yes, we all must be attentive to ensuring that this doesn't deteriorate into a prescriptive, test-driven strategy. But the Core offers us the hope that perhaps for the first time all U.S. schools and all educators will reach for the same standard in math and English language arts, regardless of where or who they teach. …

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