Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

What Do Parents Want?

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

What Do Parents Want?

Article excerpt

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.--Buddha

Nearly all parents want a strong curriculum in core subject areas, a focus on critical thinking skills, and for their children to learn good study habits, according to a recent survey of 2,000 American parents by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Harris Interactive.

"This bodes well for policy initiatives such as the Common Core State Standards, which are designed to deliver much of that. Still, given how many parents assign a lower priority to schools having high test scores or preparing students to take state tests, the results also illustrate the chasm between parents and policy makers. It's a blunt fact that many parents are less obsessed with test scores than are those who design education policies," said the report's authors.

The authors broke down parents into six market niches:

In the 2013 PDK/Gallup poll, most Americans said increased testing in the public schools had either hurt or made no difference in the performance of the public schools.

Strivers (12%) assign importance to their child being "accepted at a top-tier college." Strivers are far more likely to be African-American and Hispanic. They're also more apt to be Catholic. But they do not differ from the total population in terms of educational attainment.

Pragmatists (36%) assign high value to schools that "offer vocational classes or job-related programs." Compared to the total parent population, Pragmatists have lower household incomes, are less likely themselves to have graduated from college, and are more likely to be parents of boys. …

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