Majority of Americans Favor Local Control of Public Schools

Yesterday, the 46th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released and the findings confirm Americans want Local School Boards to have the authority.

 When asked to reflect on who should have the greatest influence on what is taught in the public schools, Americans prefer local school boards over the federal government by a wide margin, 56% to 15%. Twenty-eight percent believe state government should have the greatest say on curriculum.

The use of Common Core Standards was also a topic on the poll.  The results show 59% of all Americans OPPOSE having the teachers in their community use the standards, while only 33% favor the new direction.  A  previous Rasmussen Poll  reflected the same trends, the more parents know about the standards, the more they do not like the standards.

The majority of those who have heard about the Common Core State Standards oppose their use to guide teaching, though opinions on this question are clearly divided along political party lines. While the Common Core Standards are not a federal initiative per se, Americans may see the program as overreaching. Those who oppose the standards for guiding teaching value teacher flexibility and perceive the standards as a threat to teachers’ autonomy in the classroom; and those who favor the Common Core see a framework for teaching that could address the well-documented achievement gap, increase rigor in lagging schools, and set students on equal footing with those in higher-achieving schools.

However,  the report says in summary:

 The jury is out about whether the initiative is making a positive impact on student learning.

The published results of this survey come before the first meeting of the Academic Standards Review Commission.

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