Friday, October 1, 2010

Highlights of PDK Gallup Poll

As a long-time member of Phi Delta Kappa (PDK), I very much enjoy reading the annual PDK/Gallup Poll results. This year, the poll has some very interesting findings that I wanted to highlight in the blog and discuss the potential impact of public opinion on Kentucky schools.

1. The public believes the best way to turn around low-achieving schools is to support the principals and teachers in those schools. The public strongly supports training and professional development for teachers; however, the public also strongly supports dismissal of ineffective teachers if we don’t see improvements in teaching. This result supports our focus in Kentucky on improving teacher and principal effectiveness and using multiple measures to determine effectiveness rather than relying solely on student test scores.

2. The overwhelming majority of parents believe a college education (two-year or four-year) is essential for jobs of the future. This result supports our focus in Kentucky on college and career readiness.

3. The public support for charter schools continues to increase. Almost 2/3 of respondents support public charter schools. I feel certain the Kentucky General Assembly will continue to review charter school legislation.

4. Teacher pay should be determined by quality of work (including student learning outcomes) rather than a single salary schedule. This result also will inform our work on teacher effectiveness and the multiple measures development.

5. As with most polls, the public feels that local schools are doing a great job; however, they rate schools in the nation much lower. This local phenomenon plays out in public opinion that federal control of schools is not supported. Most respondents feel that the state is the appropriate level for school control of standards, assessments and interventions.

For more information and poll results, go to

Kids Count – The annual Kids Count data are available at Terry Brooks of the Kentucky Youth Advocates sent me an interesting chart -- --from the Kids Count Data Center on poverty levels by congressional district in Kentucky. With one in five children nationally and more than one in four in Kentucky in poverty, this information has certain implications for school district planning.

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