Press Release

AFT on 2017 Phi Delta Kappa Poll on Public Schools

For Release: 

Monday, August 28, 2017


Janet Bass

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the PDK (Phi Delta Kappa) poll of the public’s attitudes toward public schools:

“Parents are telling our leaders to stop making public schools a battleground. They have confidence in their children’s teachers and their neighborhood public schools, and believe they should have the resources they need to prepare students for successful lives and careers.

“Parents seem to have more common sense, and more of a sense of common good, than those in charge of federal education policy: While they believe that standardized tests are an unsatisfactory and insufficient way to measure school quality, they are very keen on promoting diversity and believe that all students would do better in schools that are racially, ethnically and economically diverse. They understand that academics and services like after-school programs and mental health services must be adequately funded and should not be pitted against one another.

“What is infuriating is the extent to which Betsy DeVos, the president and the vice president disregard the results of the PDK International poll—and, frankly, of most polls of the public and parents that have consistently told policymakers to invest in public schools, not defund them or divert public funds for vouchers for private and religious schools.

“We have an obligation to parents and communities to have well-resourced public schools that promote children’s well-being; provide engaging, powerful and relevant learning; build teacher capacity; and foster collaboration among educators, parents and the community. The administration would be well-served by listening to the aspirations of parents and our communities rather than continuing this war on public schools and the foundational role they play in our society.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.