Parents Like Their Children's Schools More Than They Like Education in America--Huh???
Question #1: How satisfied are you with the quality of education of our your oldest child?
Question #2: How satisfied are you with the quality of K-12 education that students receive in the United States today?
How would you answer these two questions? Gallup has asked these questions to Americans for years and the answers are always the same; paradoxical, but the same:
Answer #1: I like my child's school. I think he/she is getting a good education.
Answer #2: I don't like education in America as much as I like the education in my child's school.
One possible reason is that parents live in the community that their child's school is located and they like their community. Another reason could be that parents know their child's teachers; they've met them, talked to them, maybe are neighbors with them. Their child's school is a place that they've visited many times and that they know pretty well.
On the other hand, the quality of our nation's schools is heavily influenced by newspaper and media reports--which is generally negative. (This is one of the reasons that I write this blog.) Unfortunately, positive stories about public schools and American education are not told nearly as much as negative stories.
Still, if so many people are happy with their child's school, then how can these same people be so negative about public schools in general? Does this fall into the same category of, "Drivers around her are crazy, but I'm a good driver."?
Our schools aren't perfect, and we certainly have challenges that need to be addressed. I believe that these challenges can be better addressed when we have the support of the public that we serve. Indeed we need all our collective "best thinking" to solve our most entrenched problems--such as the education of our poorest students.
So cheer up American. Maybe things aren't as bad you think--or should I say "As bad as you read in the press".